4 Things to Avoid When Finishing Your Novel

**GIVEAWAY! Emily is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks.** Emily Adrian, author of 2015 debut novel LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED, shares 4 things to avoid at all costs so you can finally sit down and finish that novel.
Author:
Publish date:

When you’re halfway through a draft or a major revision, it’s easy to recognize and delight in your novel’s strengths. It’s easy to imagine that you will—someday soon, tomorrow probably—correct every single flaw. But as you near the end of a draft, and your book remains imperfect, you might start to panic. You might make some bad choices. Here are four things to avoid.

GIVEAWAY: Emily is excited to give away a free copy of her novel to a random commenter. Comment within 2 weeks; winners must live in Canada/US to receive the book by mail. You can win a blog contest even if you’ve won before. (Please note that comments may take a little while to appear; this is normal).

Emily-adrian-author-writer
Like-it-never-happened-book-cover

Column by Emily Adrian, author of debut novel LIKE IT NEVER HAPPENED
(June 2015, Dial/Penguin). Her novel was given a stared review and called
"Original and intriguing; a powerful debut." by Kirkus Reviews. Emily Adrian
was born in 1989 in the suburbs of Portland, Oregon. After graduating from
Portland State University, she moved to Toronto, Ontario, where she worked
as a receptionist while secretly writing books. Emily currently lives in Toronto
with her husband, Dan, and their dog, Hank. Connect with her on Twitter

1. Don’t call it quits prematurely.

I have a habit of growing frustrated with my manuscript and deciding, abruptly, that the book is as good as it’s ever going to get. I’ve come all too close to turning in a typo-ridden document with my own furious comments—“WHAT IS THIS PARAGRAPH EVEN?”—hovering in the margins. Don’t do that. Chill. Ask yourself how much time you have to finish your book. Make a list of problems you can reasonably fix within that timeframe. Take a break.

2. Don't Google yourself.

While taking your break, you may feel compelled to Google yourself. Particularly if your debut novel came out last month, or you just released some other sort of publication. Because maybe a kind librarian from Houston has been blogging about how brilliant you are, and maybe her praise is the fuel you require to finish your work.

Don’t. Best case scenario: someone in Houston thinks you’re a genius and you decide to Google yourself again in twenty minutes. Worst case scenario: you have three new one-star reviews on Goodreads.

(Have questions about what genre/category you're writing in? Here are some tips.)

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 3.39.23 PM

Your new complete and updated instructional guide
to finding an agent is finally here: The 2015 book
GET A LITERARY AGENT shares advice from more 
than 110 literary agents who share advice on querying, 
craft, the submission process, researching agents, and
much more. Filled with all the advice you'll ever need to
find an agent, this resource makes a great partner book to
the agent database, Guide to Literary Agents.

3. Don't delete spasmodically.

When looking over your novel for the last time, try to avoid haphazardly deleting words and sentences that suddenly seem clunky and bad. Maybe they are clunky and bad, in which case, your editor will let you know. More likely, those details that only start to feel gratuitous as you near your project’s end are, in fact, totally necessary. When I’m finishing a draft, I find myself skimming lines that I know are powerful and focusing instead on the understated bits in between—which, out of context, are as jarring as potholes. But what’s really jarring is when an author has deleted all the small actions and observations that carry the reader from one crucial point to the next.

4. Don't download your manuscript.

After submitting your book to your agent or editor, do not obsessively download your own attachment, fearing you accidentally changed the font to Wingdings and/or submitted an old college term paper in place of your novel. You didn’t. I promise.

---------------------

Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers' Conferences:

Do you have an idea for a great novel? Are you at a loss
for where to start? Look no further. 
You Can Write a 
Novel, 2nd Edition
, gives you 
concrete, proven
techniques to get from idea 
to manuscript to bookstore.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 4.12.53 PM

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

Pair vs. Pare vs. Pear (Grammar Rules)

Pair vs. Pare vs. Pear (Grammar Rules)

Prepare yourself for comparing the differences of pair, pare, and pear on with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

6 Lessons of Writing for Novelists

6 Lessons of Writing for Novelists

As the author of 16 novels, Wendy Wax shares her top 6 tips for novelists to help their writing journey go as smoothly as possible.

Elyssa Friedland: On Letting Setting Guide You

Elyssa Friedland: On Letting Setting Guide You

When author Elyssa Friedland settled on the setting for her latest novel, Last Summer at the Golden Hotel, the characters and plot came to her. Here, she discusses the importance of setting.

Alyson Gerber: On Writing Difficult Topics for Young Readers

Alyson Gerber: On Writing Difficult Topics for Young Readers

Critically acclaimed author Alyson Gerber discusses how she tackled the topic of disordered eating in her latest middle-grade novel, Taking Up Space.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: Annual Writing Competition, Submission Guidelines, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce the extended Annual Writing Competition deadline for 2021, details on how to submit your writing to Writer’s Digest, and more!

Amorak Huey: On Stalling Out After Publication

Amorak Huey: On Stalling Out After Publication

Poet Amorak Huey hit a creative roadblock after publishing his latest poetry collection Dad Jokes From Late in the Patriarchy. He shares his cure (and more!) in this article.

From Script

New Original Podcasts, Videos, and Understanding Data as a Screenwriter (From Script)

In this week’s round-up brought to us by ScriptMag.com, Script releases brand new audible and visual content!

Summer Writing Activities for Writers

8 Summer Writing Activities for Writers

Summer is upon us, so here are 8 summer writing activities for writers to consider as the temperature rises.

Books and Authors to Check Out in 2021

71 Books and Authors to Check Out in 2021!

Need a book to read in 2021? Want to find a new author to check out? Then, explore this list of 71 books and authors featured in our author spotlight series in a variety of genres.