Publishing Expert Tips

Is my story complete?


It’s a very common question we hear from authors: “How do I know when my book is done?”

While  it’s important not to turn in your first draft, it’s equally important to know when you’ve given your book everything it needs, and it’s time to turn it in to the publisher.  Your book might feel like a child you’ve raised from infancy. The world is a scary place, and you don’t want your “little one” going out into the big, scary world without everything needs to be successful.  As a result, some authors engage in five, six, ten, or even more rounds of corrections before turning in their final manuscript.

But how do you know how much is enough and how much is too much?  Remember: as author, you’ll always know more about your story (fiction or nonfiction) than your readers.

First and foremost, be sure that things that are obvious to you aren’t overlooked in the story. Will readers be able to clearly distinguish character, follow the plot and understand any symbolism in the end?

Be sure not to end the story just because you’ve reached a certain page count or word count.  The story is over when you’ve resolved any issues or questions; when you’ve reached a meaningful, satisfying conclusion, or when you’ve fully conveyed the intended purpose of the book

Remember that being finished is more than having a good ending.  Every chapter needs to be a complete unit, with a starting and ending point.  Some parts will probably be more exciting than others, but every part should serve a purpose.  Here’s something to remember: If there was a part of the book that you thought was less interesting, and you just wanted to get through it to get to the “good parts,” chances are your readers will feel the same way.  Don’t short-change your story.