[Er, so, I just unearthed this in my drafts folder. Apparently I scheduled it to publish on December 15, but it never actually…published. This happens in WordPress sometimes, but not consistently, which is one of the reasons I’m clearing out my drafts folder. In any case, I present to you a time capsule from two months ago.]

Polish read number seven. Y’all, the ghost story is almost ready to rock and roll.

It’s only just occurred to me that I don’t put polish reads on my to do list, and they take up huge, massive amounts of time. Just ridiculous hours of labor go into the polishing bit, and I don’t even have something to check off at the end of it! Massive list fail.

Let’s talk about this final stage of revisions. It’s the stage where, no matter the book, I hate it. It disgusts me. I know it so freaking well that I have to forcibly keep myself tuned in or I stop paying attention because everything I’m reading today I read yesterday and the day before that.

This is a fucking great stage. It’s the stage I didn’t do to this degree before I started publishing, so I’m still getting my sea legs after however many books this year. But man, I gain appreciation every time I do this. The faster I go, the better. This is when I notice tiny inconsistencies, tiny similarities. This is when I fine-tune language so I don’t repeat things. (oh, nothing you’d be likely to notice. Two different characters refer to another character as a douchebag. He very much IS a douchebag, and it’s a native sounding word to both of them, but it bugs me, so I changed one.)

Did I mention I hate this book right now? Oh, don’t worry, this happens with all of them (well, except The New Born Year; that one still catches me just right). But man oh man, I’m through, I’m done!

I should be reading it right now. Can you tell I’m procrastinating?

On the other hand…I fucking love this book. This book gestated longer than any other book I’ve ever written. Literally. I’d have to dig pretty deeply in the archives to beat the twelve years I spent thinking about this damn story. Of the books out, only Will and Adam Derrie are older characters than the folks in The Ghost in the Penthouse. I’m so happy to be putting it out right now, instead of February, which was its original schedule.

The polish reads are a little bit glorious. In major revisions, I do big-picture stuff. I make sure my threads pull just right throughout, and my throughlines stay steady, and my characters sound “right” on the page. Also, that the timelines are solid. (Timelines fuck me. Don’t get me started with all the bits I wanted to record for Close to Home. The Home Series timeline’s madness.)

But in the polish reads, I try to let go of the big picture and take the book on a sentence-to-sentence level, getting the language right, getting the dialogue right. This is a great time to read aloud and make final tweaks. I never know characters better than I do right now, at this stage in development, because I’ve just read this book straight through for days. I’m steeped in this story. This is also the best time to brainstorm any stories or scenes I want to someday write with these characters, because they’re so real to me in this moment, I can see how their entire lives play out.

That said, I hate this book right now. Oh my god, don’t make me read it again! Don’t. Please. Come on. I’ve already read it like a bunch of times, surely that’s good enough…

Featured image is Slworking edit by Eric Schmuttenmaer on Flickr.