The Writing Process: The Near-Final Read Through

Since Drew Hayes’ blog inspired me to start doing my own blog, I think it’s fitting that I write about a quote from him. [Note: I swear I read other authors, too, I’ve just been reading his stuff lately (via audiobook). Even though this seems like a shameless plug for him, I promise he has no clue who I am.]

During his Facebook launch party for Siege Tactics (Book 4 of Spells, Swords & Stealth), I faced my fear of interacting with strangers on social media and asked him what his favorite part of the writing/publishing process was. I have to say his response surprised me:

“The almost final read through. When you get deep into a work, you start to hate it. Happens to most writers I know, at a point it just because impossible to see the forrest through the trees and you suspect the entire project is terrible. The near-final read through, when edges are smoothed and the whole thing has some polish, is the point where I can see what I pictured at the start: a complete story. Finishing that part always feels me a sense of genuine accomplishment.” [Typos during a live Facebook event should be forgiven.]

Coincidentally, the night before asking this question and seeing his response, I had just finished my final read through of The Ven Hypothesis. I confess, I am one of those authors who hates the near-final read through. It takes me way longer than it should (I’m a slow careful reader), and I waffle between feeling proud, insecure, and oh-so-ready for it to be over.

I took a piece of advice that encouraged authors to do their read through on a Kindle, the logic being that you can’t incessantly tinker with phrasing like you can in Word or Scrivener. This was good advice, because it meant I only changed things that really needed changing. As I started my read through, all of the little imperfections that I had either not noticed or ignored stood out like a neon sign in a darkened alley. I think a lot of authors could probably tweak their final draft forever. Or maybe that’s just me. It was a struggle to confront weaknesses in my writing, knowing that I couldn’t fix everything to the level I wanted.

Anyway, I wish I had read Hayes’ response before starting that read through, because I love his perspective. No project is flawless, even when it’s finished (or you’re finished with it), but Hayes is right. While reading, I was too focused on the trees. I think going into a read through with the intent to enjoy “the forest” might be a game changer for me next time around.




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