I'm incredibly excited to report that I've finished the first draft of the sequel to my young adult novel! There is a huge sense of accomplishment that comes with writing the last words of a book you've been working hard on. It surprised me by turning out even better than I had planned, taking me a direction the outline hadn't predicted. While I write outlines now (didn't used to, see my past entry on outlines) I still allow the story to evolve on it's own. Writing the end was absolutely thrilling down to the last word. It felt like the characters were letting me in on their story, I love it when that happens!
Once you've celebrated and revelled in the feeling for a while, what then? That depends on you and what you plan to do with your manuscript. I'm always moving forward, seeking representation so I can become published. I feel that my characters have a right to have their stories told to the world, so I fight for them. After I've finished I soak in the joy for a day or so then I print out a hard copy. I mercilessly take a red pen to it, cutting and changing things as if I'm not the author but an editor seeking the hidden gem. It's not easy to slice and dice my babies but this way I end up with a much more solid piece of work. When I'm finished I set back down at the computer and put in all the changes I've just done. Only then, when I feel its in the best possible shape, am I willing to present it to an agent. The editing can take me anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month, depending on the length of the manuscript.
So what happens when all the changes are entered and it's sent off? I start a new book. I never stop, I can't there are two many stories in my head. What am I going to start next? There are a few ideas battling for the forefront of my imagination but it will all depend on what I hear from the agent who is currently considering my young adult novel. A yes will send me one direction a no will send me another, but regardless of the answer I'll keep writing.