That’s a Wrap: My (almost) Final Edits

I just clicked Send. My final edit deadline is tomorrow. I made it. It’s gone, for better or for worse. The Novel is gone. It is in the hands of an editing team who will clean up my commas and semicolons and whip the manuscript into shape à la The Chicago Manual of Style. I can do no more.

 

The next time I see In Another Life, in a month or so, it will be in galley proof form. I’ll be allowed to make only line edits or proofreading corrections. The story is what it will be today, tomorrow, and a year from now, on Publication Day.

 

I entered the editor-writer conversation and exchange process with a focused humbleness. Knowing I had so much to learn about this part of the publishing journey, I expected the story to be challenged and questioned, coaxed and tamed. What I didn’t expect—not at this late stage—is that I would be my harshest critic. Even after the revisions were complete and the story set, each read-through brought more changes to language, tone, rhythm. It’s not just that I felt the story and writing improve with each draft; I felt the writer and storyteller improve.

 

And so I think about a year from now, and how it will feel to release this novel when I am not the same writer. I’m certainly not the same writer who began In Another Life on a July day in 2012.

 

Writer’s remorse sits heavy on my soul. I should have read it through one more time. There will be something, I know, something critical I will have missed—just as there has been on each pass—a better way to construct a phrase, a scene, a novel.

 

But I have to let that go, don’t I? This is part of the process—accepting that what’s published today might not be what you would write tomorrow. In Another Life is my apprenticeship and my act of faith. It taught me many things about the writing process, lessons I hope never to relearn: don’t write without some sort of a plan; don’t write more than a handful of scenes out of sequence; don’t share your work too early; don’t listen to that inner critic telling you to hang it up and go home.

 

Do listen to the voice that says, Keep Writing. The story will sort itself out in time.

 

And now a year looms. A year to worry that no one will ever read the thing. A year to worry that they will. A year to plan blog tours and blurbs and fret about that damn launch party.

 

A year to revise the second novel and pray that it sells, and to finish the third. The fourth is already wrapping tiny, thin tendrils of ideas around my brain . . .

 

Speaking of marketing and promotion, here’s my new website: Julie Christine Johnson Don’t judge. I created the site just yesterday. Not much there, I know. It’ll get fleshed it out in time, probably go through a template change or three. But for now, I’ve snagged my domain name and a fresh, clean canvas to paint.

 

You guys. I wrote a novel. It’s going to be published. That’s just silly.

 

“If you have any young friends who aspire to become writers, the second greatest favor you can do them is to present them with copies of The Elements of Style. The first greatest, of course, is to shoot them now, while they’re happy.”
― Dorothy Parker

2015-03-12 15.35.00-1
Deception Pass, Whidbey Island © 2015 Julie Christine Johnson

47 thoughts on “That’s a Wrap: My (almost) Final Edits

  1. Grrrrlll….! Don’t even think about closing the door on this chapter acting all “I’m sorry I have to say so-long and shit….” I became acquainted with you and your blog toward the end of your journey to publishing In Another Life; still you should know that I still found inspiration and information towards “the end”….think about that. CONGRATULATIONS! (…uh…is the end of CHALK THE SUN…or are you experiencing the close of this particular chapter on the blog?)

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  2. I’m so excited for you, Sis! And although it might be a weak analogy, putting your novel to bed sounds a bit like raising kids — the work, the tears, the struggles, and then letting go, hoping your best will be good enough.

    But you’ll be published. A real book. With your name on the cover (which I always thought was better than having one’s name in a masthead, anyway).

    When the first edition comes out, maybe you can hook me up with the author for a signed copy, eh! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s exactly how I think of it! And then you turn your attention to the next kid (hoping the first one makes you proud!).

      I’ll talk to my people and see what we can do about getting you a signed copy. 😉
      Love you so much!!

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  3. Your website is clean, elegant, and very you. Looks wonderful!
    As for the rest – so, so happy and excited for you. Cannot wait to buy your novel 😊

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  4. Julie, I am so happy that you completed your novel and getting it published. I remember when I met you at Hugo House, you told me that you were starting to write a novel and now look at you. Kudos 🙂 I am still working on my first novel and I am finally creating some writing goals for myself so I can hopefully finish my novel in a year. I have decided to self publish because I want creative control over my work. I will definitely check out your novel when it’s released. Best Wishes, CG Holder

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie, I never, ever thought this would happen-I hardly dared let myself dream of the possibility. I’m thrilled for you and can’t wait to see your publishing dreams take flight, and to read the results. So proud that you are pushing ahead!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi, me again! Your web site looks great – I love all the space and your photos. I was thinking – remember when you thought you might take that museum job and when your lives were turned upside down and you decided the heck with it and moved to the OP? And it all was so hard and terrifying? Yeah – well look at you now, my dear, just look at you now. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. AH, that’s so wonderful! Life just keeps rolling and you find a way to roll with it. I am so fortunate. So amazed and grateful.

      I keep bookmarking author websites I love and that’s just what I wanted: a clean, well-lighted place. 🙂

      Your support means the world to me, Margaret.

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    1. Sion, you are definitely on my list! Thank you so much for inviting me! I have this fantasy that a French publisher will pick up the book and OF COURSE I’ll have to make a promotional trip to France. Of Course!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats, Julie! Can’t wait to read it, and would love to see you and help you if you need anything when you have a book tour stop in SF. Until then, KEEP WRITING!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my dear friend. I’m really hoping to do a West coast thing next spring/summer. Book tours are on me (as in, publisher won’t pay to send a first-time, unknown author on the road), but there are so many great indie bookstores from Seattle to LA, I may just hop in the car and meander my way south. And yes. I WILL see you!

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  7. Can I “like” this post a zillion times? You know how much I loved the first iteration of this book, and I am CHOMPING AT THE BIT to read the revised version, which I suspect I’ll love even more. Congratulations on reaching another milestone in this journey, Julie; I couldn’t be happier for you! P.S. I love the photo of you on your new website!

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