It's done! My next book is done!!!
Each time I thought I was done, I realized I had one more step to go.
When I finished adding a chapter to help the new ending roll smoothly, I thought I was done. But I still had to write the last chapter.
When I finished writing the last chapter, we celebrated with dinner out! That's a really big deal for us! We don't go out to eat often. But the book wasn't truly done. I still had to write the epilogue.
The epilogue presented a challenge. Just how far in the future do I need to project to prove this new ending isn't a fluke or a short-term solution?
After three days of mentally testing different time gaps, I was done. The epilogue pulled itself together via a rewrite of the original epilogue. My book went from tragic to joyous in just two chapters and a revised epilogue!
Miracles really do happen, right?!?
But then I realized I still have to include the first chapter of my next book.
No problem. I've got four more done. If done is what you call the stage Heart Strings was at two years ago...
All four "done" books need at least a bit of rewriting. Likely all four need to be polished and dressed in their Sunday best. Which one goes next? Eeny meeny miney mo? In order of birth? In reverse order of birth?
Reader vote?!? Would that open a hornet's nest?!?
"Heart Strings" is intended to be the first of an adoption trilogy. Do I jump into Part Two next?
Part Two isn't done yet. Of course. Part Three is done. Part Two never got past simmer.
The middle volume of a trilogy traditionally is the darkest. Part Two, working title "Brashley" (yes, you have permission to laugh if you catch that inside joke), is dark. Insert scary music here. I don't know if I want to give Part Two a happy ending. Then again, perhaps I have come a long way since I began writing it, and perhaps it doesn't need to be quite so dark anymore. One thing for sure: I don't expect it to be done by the end of the year. I'm too happy to write sad stuff!
The third book in the adoption series, "Gemini Bridges", is done, has been for what feels like forever, but it really needs to be the third book. It's happy. It's my fourth- or fifth-born. "Heart Strings" and "Brashley" didn't come along until much later. Years later.
"Back Issues" was the third book I ever finished, way back when I was still a teenager, and the third book I ever sent to a publisher (many years later). It's the one I'm referring to when I ramble on and on about the time I finally got a great response from a potential publisher. The publisher back then, long before the turn of the century (a seriously dated novel), wrote (paraphrased), "Good plot, believable characters, well-written, but you don't have a name. You aren't marketable."
Am I marketable now? :)
Then there's the time travel novel, no working name yet. It's fun. It's done. I wrote it for my kids, and they loved hearing it what feels like 152 years ago. My cousins loved it when I read it to them what feels like 150 years ago. It feels that old now. I kind of would like to see it published, sort of, and yet, there's a part of me that wants to keep that one to myself, not share it with the whole world. It's like a baby, I guess, and I'm not sure I want to give it up for adoption.
The next best candidate is one I don't want to name publicly yet because my working title is awesome, and no one else has used that title yet. (!!!!!) (By the time I published "Heels Over Head", two other books and a band had claimed that same name!)
After a good bit of thought, I chose "Back Issues". I proofread it and polished it up a bit, then included the first chapter at the end of "Heart Strings." My book is done! I'm done! I can publish it now!!!
Well, next I had to register it with the copyright office.
The very next day, after not too much brain ache on the government website, I hit the "Submit" button and filed "Heart Strings" for copyright registration. Woohoo! I'm DONE!!!
Well, except, now I have to shoot the cover... you know, that mind-boggling piece. An award-winning, eye-grabbing, show-stopping photograph that will capture and hold reader attention in thumbnail size and generate tons of sales.
Will this journey never end?!?