Friday, August 03, 2007

Finishing Up A Book

I turned in a book this week. It’s for Harlequin American, and will be published sometime in 2008, I think. It was my fifth book for Harlequin and my fifteenth to sell. But it struck me, as I drove to the FED-EX office, how the process of completing a manuscript-and the feeling of elation-hasn’t changed much from the very first complete novel I wrote. I still feel giddy that someone else is about to read my work.
Before I turn in a manuscript I usually do a couple of things. After I’ve read, revised, and read it again (and this can go on for weeks), I double-check the story with a calendar. I learned with Cinderella Christmas that I have a bad habit of writing things like ‘one week later’, or the ‘next day’—or having too many chapters and scenes all on the same day. I also check for names and eye color. Usually I write more than one book at a time, so names of secondary characters get hopelessly confused. This is a source of amusement for my critique partners.
While the pages print, I rewrite the synopsis, since I’ve often changed things I never guessed I would do before the book was complete. Then, I write a cover letter. My final step is to type out a cover page to rubber-band on top of the whole thing, with the very fun words, ‘By Shelley Galloway’ right under the title. The people at FED-EX know me now. They smile when I turn in a book because they say they can always tell when one is just completed. My hair’s a mess. Make-up hasn’t been thought about. Ratty sweats are on. And a goofy, really pleased smile is on my face…always proclaiming~ I did it! I made up a story and finished it!
What do I do on that short drive home? Get a vanilla latte from Starbucks and do a little bit of cheering in the car. Then, of course, it’s time to clean up my office and take a shower. My family is pleased because I’ll be more concerned with their activities once again than a whole lot of made-up ones. I’ll sit around and watch TV and play with Suzy, our miniature dachshund.
And, of course, go do my favorite thing…go buy someone else’s hard work and read. That is I will, until the next deadline approaches.


CrystalG said...

Congratulations on finishing your book. :)

Heather Webber said...

Shelley, congrats on finishing the book and getting it sent off! Enjoy your downtime! You deserve it.

Patricia W. said...

Shelley, congratulations on finishing. I enjoyed your last American so I'll look out for this one.

robynl said...

More than one book at a time can definitely be confusing; that's a given.
Congrats from me to you on getting the book sent out.
Have a great time with family and you puppy.

Estella said...

Congrats on finishing and turning in your book. Enjoy your down time!