It’s been more than three weeks since I’ve posted here. Not quite as bad as I’ve been in the past, but I still owe you all an update. I’ve been working like crazy on Streets of Payne, and I’m happy to report that it’s just about done! Woohoo!
The first draft of the manuscript was completed on March 17, and while I was incredibly relieved to have that huge part of the process behind me, I had a feeling that the ending was too rushed. Nevertheless, I sent it off to my beta readers and took a day to rest. Then I dove back in to begin the first rewrites.
The initial manuscript was a real mess. Not necessarily the story itself, but my writing “style” is to get the ideas down as they come, write the scenes as quickly as possible, and leave notes in the margins for later cleanup. The first rewrite is that later cleanup. Much of it is rewriting areas where I left notations like “This section doesn’t fit the way she accepts XX when XXX happens. – Rewrite!“. Or “Need to remove this reference so that it doesn’t complicate XYZ in the storyline later.” Or “Where is this in timeline with regard to XYZ? Need to time this discovery with 123 to set up the emotional intensity for next scene.”
And as I mentioned, while all that was going on, a couple of great friends also started going over the manuscript and critiquing it as well. These beta readers sort through the manuscript (warts and all) to add their own notes, and see if mine make sense to them. Well, one of my beta readers got the manuscript back to me in just a few days. He assuaged my concerns in a few areas, and confirmed my concerns regarding some others (especially my worry that the ending felt a bit rushed). That gave me what I needed to know for the second rewrite pass.
Well, that second pass is now complete. I’ve addressed my notes, my first beta reader’s notes, done some cleanup on the division of the scenes and basic formatting, fleshed out the climax, and am about to begin another pass. This third pass will be easier, but more time-consuming. It will entail completely re-reading the manuscript (not just jumping from one note to the next) to see if there are any fine plot or character details that may contradict one another after all the rewriting that I’ve already done. After this one, assuming my second beta reader doesn’t find anything too glaring that takes too long to clean up (knock on wood), then a final fourth pass will finish it up before going in for professional editing. That’s when they point out all the things I missed. But that’s what it takes to put out a quality product.
In the meantime, I need to tackle other details as well — things like the dedication, acknowledgements, back cover blurb, synopsis, and author’s notes. I’ve also got to get back to my cover artist. I found last night where I completely missed an email from him. I’ve been so single-minded in the writing of SoP, that I’ve neglected emails and phone calls. I recall speaking to him sometime in the last week, and I was going to call him. Of course, I dropped the ball on that and he sent me a gentle reminder by email (which I also missed). So I need to get back to work with him this afternoon.
And that’s it. SoP is just about to be out of my hands. Then it’s off to the editors and I dive into the next project – the collaboration with Edward Lorn. Chucklers will be a post apocalyptic horror novel, and promises to be quite a ride. I’m looking forward to it… and dreading it at the same time. That one is going to be a completely new experience.
That’s it for now. Stay safe, everyone.