When is a novel really complete?

Now I’m sure every writer be it professional or amateur has this problem. You spend months or possibly years writing your first novel, and you’re eager to finish it so you put all your energies into doing just that. Then months later you might see a review that has some ‘constructive’ feedback or you think of some ideas that you didn’t think of before. Or you just happen to read it again and wonder to yourself how it got into that state!

Whichever one it may be, for me I published on Amazon my first two novels (Out of the Shadows and Underground Murmurs) and aside from the odd change I pretty much left them as they were. However I received a review a couple of months ago on Amazon which was, shall we say, less than complimentary and at the time I dismissed it as someone that didn’t give the novel a fair crack of the whip or it wasn’t their type of book. After a while though I looked past the anger in the review (!) and realised that he did have a point. I revisited the first novel and I realised that the start of the book was not good enough. I didn’t have the best introduction of the Deane and Olsen characters and it needed to be more gripping and of a faster pace.

Since then I’ve moved house which took up a lot of time and energy but I’ve also worked on giving the novel another polish and have written a new start to the book from scratch. I’m putting the finishing touches to it now and will upload this to Amazon in the next few weeks all being well. It will be good to get this done and I can get back to working on Book 3 ‘Double Cross’.

I also read a few articles where some well known authors said that they would do a minimum of twenty read through’s so effectively twenty polishes of the book and it wouldn’t be released until then. Twenty? That is impressive, I would say this must be my eighth or ninth so maybe I should keep going!

So my big question to other writers would be when is a novel complete? When do you click on ‘Publish’ and say it is complete and never go back to it? Or do you constantly update your work and never think of it as complete? I’d be interested to hear back from anyone.

Other than that, watch out for the new and improved versions of Out of the Shadows and Underground Murmurs in the coming weeks!