The word final often doesn’t apply to writing. When you finish that first draft and type
as a writer, you know it isn’t the last time you’ll be there. After putting your manuscript away for a while, you’ll begin rewrite. The first rewrite is agonizing as you discover the loose ends, blind alleys, and the blandness of it all, lacking emotion and sensuality. In cleaning it up, you discover a new story, filled with deeper characters, intricate plot twists, and scenes you missed in writing the first draft. Once again, you type:
But, it’s not, is it? In that rewrite, something emerged, a deeper meaning for your story, that elusive greater message, the theme. A simple story about a scientist who invents a device that can kill billions becomes a journey. Now is the time to climb into the souls of your characters–where they live, how they think, what they feel. The rainbow of your story becomes clear and the theme, character, plot, and description all follow the same path–starting at the horizon and ending at the pot of gold. You type:
and send it to an editor. When it comes back, you ask yourself how many red pens that woman must own and return to the keyboard. Eventually, you will publish something, but for you. it will never be the final draft as the characters continue to live with you for the rest of your life.