Okay, I’m writing this late – damn it! I remembered every day, but on the day? How’s that happen?
Anyway, somewhat late (I’m hoping that our time-zone differences with help me out here:D ) I wanted to talk about my looming insecurities.
So you write your book, get a cover, edit it to within an inch of its life, then publish it. The applause comes and goes and you move on to the next project, right? Or do you? Me? I found it a little trickier than that.
Most or some, or perhaps none of you will know that I spent July working with a CP on Finding Esta (yes, my published novel) preparing it for print.
‘Shouldn’t it already be ready?’ I hear you ask. Well, yes. But I have zero confidence and nightmares of errors leaping from the page at unsuspecting readers woke me one too many times.
It’s received some great reviews and the only one that really stuck with me was the lowest ‘score’ of 3/5. She liked it, but felt it was a bit slow in the beginning. That nagged the hell out of me because I knew she was right. Soon, I was picking and cutting and rearranging my MS, and paranoia kept me awake.
I had to get it critiqued again, with certain specific questions in mind. Someone offered and we swapped MS’s. It worked pretty well. I just handed hers over actually.
I hope I helped her as much as she helped me.
And I do feel better about it now. I do feel the beginning (chapter one entirely removed, the first quarter re-organised, and lots of cuts elsewhere) has lost nothing essential, and gained more motion, movement.
I used a great editing book (Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave) to guide me through lots of other areas of tightening up in general. Although I’d done a lot of this already (and of course, it’d been edited before publication), I still felt there was a lot of room for improvement. It’s up on LULU now, and once I’ve proofed Createspace’s version, it’ll be there, too.
I tell myself I should be confident enough to move on now, to delve into Finding Luna, armed with all the very many lessons I learned from Finding Esta.
SOME LESSONS I HAVE LEARNED (for me)
- Plan you story, at least to some extent, before writing
- It’s okay to edit a little while you go, but keep in mind it’ll change markedly before the final edit so don’t obsess too much at the beginning.
- Don’t fret over word count. It will be as long or as short as it needs to be.
- Leave it to rest for a few weeks between passes/re-writes. That way glaring errors or plot whole won’t hide so easily.
- Use several great editing books to go through your MS before the editor sees it, before the betas see it, and after everything it done, go through it again before publication. Again, leave at least a week between each of these edits.
- Once finished, forget about it and move on to the next book.
But can I?
Well, that’s it for me this month. How are you? Do you obsess over your MS? Do you find it easy to let go?