How Do I Know When My Novel Is Done?

Marylee MacDonald is the author of MONTPELIER TOMORROW, a novel about caregiving and ALS. Her short story collection, BONDS OF LOVE & BLOOD, was a finalist in the Foreword Reviews' INDIEFAB Awards. Her fiction has won Gold and Silver Medals from Readers' Favorites International Book Awards, the Barry Hannah Prize, the Ron Rash Award, and many others.

Sending out your novel is easy. You can upload it to CreateSpace or fire off an e-mail to an agent. Whew! you think. Now my novel is done. It’s out of my hands.

At one extreme are writers who send out work soon after they’ve finished a first or second draft. At the other extreme are writers whose work becomes a dusty ream of paper on a shelf. Sending out your novel too soon invites rejection and/or bad reviews. Hanging on to a novel too long can cause an author to lose interest. The author abandons hope.

Leonardo da Vinci

Another great quote from Leonardo da Vinci is this: “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” At some point, we authors must risk “doing.” We must put our work out there in the world. Image from Europeana via The European Library

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”
Leonardo da Vinci

In this post I’m going to share some insights about when it’s time to release a book into the world.

“Putting Up” A Novel Or Serializing With Wattpad

A few weeks ago I was hanging out at Arizona State University’s “Desert Nights: Rising Stars” writing conference. I overheard a man and woman talking about the novels they had uploaded to CreateSpace. The man wrote science fiction, and he had “put up” his novels (meaning put them online), even though he had not yet completed Arizona State’s “Your Novel Year” online curriculum. The woman, a fellow student in the program, had also “put up” a novel. She had learned a great deal from her online writing workshops, and she was contemplating taking her novel down.

I stood transfixed. It had never occurred to me to