It’s been a while since I last blogged that I finished my first draft. What have I been doing? Well, other stuff and just trying to survive the strange world we live in right now. Conventional wisdom tells me that I should take a long break between finishing the draft and starting revisions. I decided initially that six weeks would be enough and I’d start February 1. That gave me Christmas and the New Year to take my mind of the story and then a mellow January before I started.
That didn’t work out at all!
First off, my number was up and I got Corona right when I was about to start with revisions! A mild case, but it did leave me tired and coughing (and literally everything tasted bitter, yuck). That really moved my schedule forward. But, all in all, revisions are going relatively smoothly.
How I do Revisions or Developmental Edits
Technically speaking, I’m doing a developmental edit. This is a very high level revision where I’m looking at the story-line, pacing, characterization, sub-plots and consistency. Stuff like making sure the story doesn’t drag in the middle and that my MC has black hair both in chapter 1 and chapter 10 (unless there’s an explained reason for any hair colour change of course!).
I tried not to think about my story during January but I wasn’t 100% successful. I worried that revising would take an immense amount of time and effort. Impostor syndrome kicked it and, I was sure the whole book was rubbish. I really needed to collect my thoughts and find a way of putting it on paper. After all, it’s a lot of text and there’s a lot of detail in there. Even I, the author, couldn’t actively remember all that happened and when it happened.
I decided to print out the whole manuscript, so that I could read through it and make notes on every left-side white page. That really helped! It took me 11 days to go through 293 A4 sized pages of, in hindsight semi-decent, story line. Highlighter and pen at the ready to jot down any thoughts and corrections I deemed appropriate. Just the rereading itself served as a great refresher and I have a much firmer understanding of the source material now.
That’s where I am at the moment of this writing. I’ve finished the first read-through of the first draft and made numerous notes and indicated a lot of corrections already. The result: I’ve got a handful of new scenes to write and inject and I know where they should go. I also have a scene to rewrite and a couple of smaller snippets to either fill in
Even though a developmental edit is not a line-edit, I’ve of course highlighted and corrected any spelling and grammatical mistakes I found as well. For now, I’ve either highlighted them or made suggestions for crummy sentences (my OCD would keep me up at night if I didn’t).
All in all, it’s not the insurmountable mountain of work I thought it would be. Here’s hoping my future agent will think the same!
Thinking of Agents
It’s too soon to query just yet. After the development edits I still have line-edits and then, copy-edits to do (or proofreading in the normal tongue). I don’t think any aspiring author, however, won’t think of “agenting” before they’re ready. I have my reasons to start looking, though. First off, in this time of pandemic a lot of other aspiring authors have decided to write their novel. God knows I’m one of them. Agents are absolutely swamped with queries and, unfortunately some people in the publishing industry have quit.
Filling that demand is a new army of agents and vanity publishers. Many of them either woefully unqualified or downright scams. The market is so saturated that it’s difficult to see the forest through the trees sometimes, meaning I have no idea if a purported agent is any good or not. Doing research into each and every individual who promotes themselves as an agent is slow and tedious to put it mildly. So, I’m already doing some preparatory research, trying to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Speaking of idioms, I am in a rather peculiar though not unique position when it comes to publishing. I’m not from an English-speaking country and, if the many doubts I foster about the adequacy of my prose weren’t bad enough, I wonder how Brexit will impact my process of getting an agent (and published). If push comes to shove, I guess I could change my manuscript from Her Majesty’s proper Oxford English to whatever the Americans pass off as English these days and try my luck there. I’m kidding, I love you guys across the pond. Regardless, the future will tell.
What Else Am I Doing?
I’m still working, of course, writing content for customers like the
poor good Millennial I am; fully submerged in the gig economy. I’ve also setup a new Anime related website which I want to grow bigger the next couple of months. If that goes as planned, I may shed some light on that here as well.
I’m also reading some books, who’d have thunk? I’ve finally come around to starting A Song of Ice and Fire and I’m looking into getting some more Stephen King and Stephen Aryan into my system. Us Stephens need to stick together more, in my honest opinion. I love both Fantasy and Horror and it’s no surprise my own novel is a Dark Fantasy/Horror Fantasy.
I’ll be back with another update once I finish my first round of revisions, or if something else noteworthy comes up. Until then, stay healthy and Slava Ukraini.