Nearly Finished

I once read somewhere that when you think you’ve finished writing your book – you haven’t. It is, sadly, true.

This time last year, I was on my umpteenth draft of Psigns and thought that I was nearly there. I had started to research agents and was working on my synopsis. And then I met my mentor, Julie Bertagna, as part of the New Writers’ Award scheme from the Scottish Book Trust, and put everything on hold.

All those niggles I’d had, about pace and characters and endings – I should have listened. If I’d sent the book out then, I probably wouldn’t have got anywhere at all, because the book wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready. There was a lot more work still to do.

I’ve learned many things over the past year, but I think the most valuable lesson of all is not to rush the process. Dig deeper than you want to into each and every character. Follow each plot point through so that it makes sense at every stage of the story. And don’t be scared to experiment – you’ll still have your old drafts, after all, and you might come up with something special.

It’s been an amazing experience and I have a much better story at the end of it. So is it finished? I don’t know. But I think I have taken it as far as I can right now.

So I’m back to researching agents and polishing up my synopsis and hopefully, this time, I’ll get somewhere.

Author: Helen MacKenzie

I’m Helen MacKenzie. I’m an award-winning writer, nearing completion of my Young Adult novel, Hagstone. I'm also a specialist copywriter for legal firms and other businesses.

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