I know what you’re thinking; “about time!” or “you’re still working on that?” or “you, again?”. Trust me, I know. It feels like it’s been eons since I started working on this book. My next book should be about how to come up with excuses and avoid things that bring you joy, which is what I’ve been doing for quite some time now.
I’ve said it before (and will say it again every time I write a new book). Writing the draft is the simple part. That first bunch of hours where you just sit at a computer and blather your heart (and fingers) out until you get everything you want on paper. Those countless hours of typing, deleting, typing something else, deleting it, then going back to the first thing you typed. It’s so easy. It’s easy to just go, just type. Knock out five, six, seven thousand words in a day. I could write what I call “pre-first drafts” all day, every day. They’re more or less just barely structured nonsense, loosely resembling what your final draft will eventually become.
It’s the editing that kills you. Hacking and butchering and murdering everything you’ve written to that point. Rearranging entire chapters, complete sections. Changing your main character’s personality, changing plot points, changing outcomes, even changing the point of view you write in. The editing is the part takes a lot of time, a ton of will power, motivation, and dedication. It’s also the part that almost every author struggles with.
It’s where I make excuses. It’s where I put off, dreading how much work it actually is. It’s the least fun part about writing anything, especially a full-length novel. It’s hard, demanding, and mentally exhausting to have to reevaluate what you’ve written, and, sometimes, start fresh from chapter one, rethinking how you’ve done everything. It’s my least favorite part of the process, by far.
But it’s also the most important. You want to make sure you not only get the story out how you want it to be told, but you want to make sure your grammar is correct, any facts you’ve used are factual, your spelling is right, whether you needed an em dash or an ellipsis. There’s so many things you need to get done, where if you didn’t, you’d get ripped apart in the reviews for your book. Which would, guess what, hurt your sales. A lot.
Without editing, most books would be terrible. Especially with how most authors get out their first iteration of their work.
That said, I’m happy to report that my third book — which I’ll reveal more about once the rest of the editing process is complete — is complete and fully self-edited. Well, the completed first draft, anyway. It clocks in at 83,219 words, which is slightly shorter than My Last Days (91,783 words) , but slightly longer than A Sour Chord (78,151 words).
What’s next? It’s off to the editor I’ve hired. She’ll go through everything, check my grammar (which, as you know, is pretty good), find any plot points, tell me whether my main character is a horrid monster who should be re-written, and a hundred other checks. Then, I’ll get it back, incorporate her suggestions into the next iteration (my second draft), then send it out to some test readers. Those “beta readers” will give me their feedback and, based on the outcome there, I’ll either go to press, or do a third draft. The third draft is usually only if the beta readers collectively dislike something across the board, or they hate a character or something. It’s unusual, but not unlikely, to happen.
And while that editing is happening, artwork will be done, blurbs will be written, my author bio will be updated, marketing materials will be prepped, and I’ll decide on if I’ll record an audiobook version.
There’s still a way to go, but this is a huge milestone and one I’m thrilled to have crossed off my list. Checking my recurring task titled “Edit” off my to do list last night felt incredible.
And once everything’s done and you’ve got this new book in your tiny, loving, appreciative, review writing, hands, I’ll get to work on book four. Which I already have a list of ideas to pick from.
Thanks, as always, for coming along on this journey with me. I hope you like this next book. It’s very different from my first two, but I hope in a good way.