You’ve finished your book – now the real work begins

Last Sunday I finally submitted my edited manuscript to Harry, my agent at DHH Literary Agency. It had been a TOUGH three weeks of editing, and he’d only sent me one page of suggested edits. As already discussed in previous posts, I agreed with all the suggestions. The difficulty lay not in taking his advice, but in ensuring I made changes to the best of my ability and kept a track of what I was changing and how it impacted throughout the rest of the narrative.

One little change in chapter 3 might sound simple, but it can echo through eternity – or at least the following 100,000 words.

I also noted a timing issue – I have a very rough map that I drew to make sure I knew where my characters were in relation to each other, and I’d given them some arbitrary distances – one week’s march from Blood Pass to the Blackgate Caves; two weeks’ march from Dancer’s Lake to Watchtown etc. THEN I DISCOVERED A CHARACTER WHO MADE THAT JOURNEY IN DAYS… Argh! Catastrophe! My whole timeline was knocked into a cocked hat. That took a couple of days of intense concentration to fix.

Then there was the slimming down of the timeline for the final events and the courier who takes word from one invading force to the other to arrange a rendezvous. (Obviously I can’t use the word rendezvous – it’s French. I went for staging.) By putting in words how long it will take them to meet up to besiege the capital, I went from weeks to days; they’re not doing anything else, after all, and they need to keep the momentum up.

The only problem with that? In the initial draft of the sequel, they do have weeks. By tightening up Godblind, I’m already messing with Trickster. The ripple effect.

I do believe it’s a better novel for the changes I’ve made, and I’m sure it will be even better when Harry sends his full edit back – even though I’m worried about what he’s going to ask me to cut. I did some cutting of my own and I know Harry’s job is to make Godblind a sleek, powerful, lethal beast. I have complete faith he can help me do this. I just don’t want him to cut my favourite scenes!

This is where working in communications and being a member of a writing group both help – I’ve learned, sometimes painfully, that there are people out there who know better than me, and that their criticism of my work is actually helping to make me a better writer – and a humbler person.

So what am I up to while I wait for Harry’s next round of edits? What I’m definitely not doing – agent’s orders – is fiddling with Godblind. Though the temptation is awful. It’s like crack. Or something.

But in the spirit of keeping an honest blog, what I’ve mostly been doing is having a complete crisis of confidence. I’ve spent much of the last week convinced Harry will wake up from whatever delusion he’s been under and realise Godblind is utter shit and he’ll drop me quicker than a hot pan.

I don’t know why I’m suddenly convinced of this, unless it’s because, while I’ve spent years revising it and sending it out to agents, I never really, deep down, believed anyone other than me would actually read it. Now that someone is… it’s terrifying. Supremely exciting, but still terrifying.

So the Husband is engaged in twin activities at the moment – bolstering my faith in my talent and preventing me from becoming a big-headed lofty writer-type. He’s doing the first through gentle encouragement and thoughtful little moments, and the second by reminding me I still have to clean the kitchen and take out the bins. Yes, I married a legend.

785

So I’m going to make like the crew of the Apollo 13 and take it one step at a time to get safely home.

Currently listening: Iggy Pop – Post-pop depression

Currently watching: The Shannara Chronicles, Gotham, The 100, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter

Currently reading: not sure yet. Just finished Morning Star and open to suggestions.

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