Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

When Is A Manuscript FINAL ?


Last month, I’d finally reached the stage in the process of my book where I could say I had a final manuscript.

Last week, I decided I needed a final read-through, just in case. I’ve read through thirteen chapters so far and have about as many places where I’ll be making small adjustments in words and phrases

I actually had another reason for the read-through. I’ve mentioned before my involvement in the virtual word, Second Life. << That link was stolen from the handy Top Tags Cloud in the right side-bar of this blog. Great way to find topics of interest :-)

I’d been reading a chapter each week to folks from all over the world but there weren’t an infinite number of chapters–I needed a new format for the Thursday event and that format had been decided way back when the book was in its infant-outline form.

Beginning next week, I’ll be leading discussions about various issues that are dealt with in the book and the final read-through was to compile an index, by chapter occurrence, of the main issues the book deals with. I’m pretty sure I’ll really have a Real Final manuscript by the time those discussions start :-)

When I created the book’s web site, I made sure there was a forum built-in for discussing the characters and ideas of the book as well as soliciting story ideas for the book’s sequel. I haven’t yet done much publicizing of the forum but as the book’s launch date approaches (May 16th) the forum and the discussions in Second Life will be getting more attention and they’ll also be interacting with each other.

So, there are some very practical reasons this last read-through must really be the last, why the book must reach its final form, even though, down the road, I might wish I’d made a few more changes

Steven King is reported to have said that he doesn’t look at published copies of his books because he doesn’t want to deal with the wishing-I-could-have-changed-that syndrome.

Of course, since I’m self-publishing Notes from An Alien, I could send an altered manuscript to FastPencil and create a new edition.

Actually, I pray I never feel like I want to do that :-)

I’d love to hear any other writers’ comments about reaching the Final Manuscript………

I’d also like to see any comments or questions about the final revision process in a book’s life :-)
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16 responses to “When Is A Manuscript FINAL ?

  1. Karla Telega April 21, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I figure once I’ve started querying, that’s the final version – until someone tells me otherwise. I was fortunate enough to get some valuable feedback from you and my other beta readers, which had me making some last minute improvements. I decided that once it passed that test, it was done. My other book has gotten some very positive feedback, but I still don’t feel like it’s the best I can do. It’s a humor book, and my craft at writing humor has improved so much over the last year, that I’m itching to play with it some more.

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai April 21, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      Yeah, that “itching to play with it” feeling–tweak, tweak :-)

      Karla, the book I read of yours was extremely good. Isn’t weird, even when another author says the book is good the original author can still feel it could be better?

      Way back when all I had was the “pre-publication” manuscript, I had readers and writers saying my book was good. Still… Here I am, making a few little tweaks :-)

      Like

  2. Kim April 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    My blog post this week is very similar. I’m making next-to-final edits to my novel. The publisher tells me I have one more peek after another editor looks at it, but I’m second guessing myself at every other turn. I can completely understand King’s viewpoint.

    Like

  3. Simone Benedict April 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    I’m not really sure personally since I’ve never been through this type of process. I do know at some point I have to tell myself, “I’m putting this baby to bed now.”

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai April 21, 2011 at 2:59 pm

      Simone, do go read Kim’s post (link above your comment) ’cause she’s got some sage advice :-)

      I really like the putting the baby to bed attitude–manuscripts can sometimes act like a two-year-old who’s been up way too long…

      Like

  4. Kay Camden April 21, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    I wish I could turn off the editing process in my mind. After 8 edits you’d think I’d be done!

    Like

  5. Chloe April 23, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    How interesting that Stephen knig does not look at his published books in case he sees improvements he could have made. I hope one day to be in that position!

    Just stopped by to wish you a Great Easter Weekend… xx

    Like

    • Alexander M Zoltai April 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

      I hope I’m also, one day, in that position. I think, with my current book and its sequel, I’ll still be looking at them after they’re published………

      Thank you, so much, Chloe, for wishing me a Great Easter Weekend :-)

      Like

      • Chloe April 23, 2011 at 6:56 pm

        I’m just laughing at my spelling of King – knig! lol I guess he’s now so rich and famous he wouldn’t mind huh?

        Oh…I apologise for not including you in my hope of one day being in Stephen’s position of not looking at published books…I meant to…and I certainly wish you success my friend. You’re clearly well on the way to it and have already attained much success already. Keep up the great work!

        Chloe xx

        Like

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