The finishing line is in sight. The research is all over. With any luck by day’s end I’ll have sent my editor From Beer to Eternity the first book in the Chloe Jackson Sea Glass mystery series. The series is set on the beach in the panhandle of Florida near the town of Destin. It releases in August 2020. I’ll confess this book has been a bear to write for a variety of reasons. A college friend did the shell art below.
Here’s what I’m going to do between now and when I hit send:
- Look for overused words. I’ve already started that process. The first word I checked was “nodded.” I quit counting when I got to thirty. Instead, I went through the manuscript and deleted as many as I could. I always picture this world full of bobbleheads sitting around bobbling away. Over the years I’ve learned not to use “just” and “that” very often so hopefully they won’t be a problem in this manuscript.
- I’ll look at the last sentence of each chapter to make sure it has a strong ending. I don’t believe each chapter has to end with a cliffhanger—because that would be exhausting for the reader, but it should end with something that makes the reader turn the next page.
- I’ll write the acknowledgements. I have so many people to thank for helping me with this book from a fireman to a children’s librarian to a former neighbor who knew about boats.
- I’ll read the beginning and end one last time. Is the opening compelling enough? Is the end satisfying? I love the ending and hope you will too.
- I’ll take one last look at the list of questions independent editor Barb Goffman gave me after editing the book to make sure I didn’t overlook anything.
- I’ll check to make sure there isn’t any fluff that doesn’t advance the story.
- There’s one scene that I’m still not quite satisfied with so I’ll give it a final polish.
- One more check of the timeline won’t hurt either. I have a chart, but I always worry that I somehow skipped a day.
- Oh, heck. I’ll probably reread the action scenes again too.
- I’ll do a quick review of character descriptions. I tend not to do a lot of description so I want to make sure there’s enough there so readers can picture someone in their heads.
And then I’ll finally, finally let it go—hoping I’ve done enough. That its intriguing and funny. That I’ve breathed life into Chloe and the people who surround her. Then I’ll be done wrestling with the editor in my head who likes to say things like “you can’t do this.” I’ll hit send and tell that editor, “Yes, I can.”
Readers: What do you do before finishing a project? How do you celebrate?