I finished the third draft a week and a half ago and think I’ve incorporated all of the editor’s feedback in a way that makes sense and works for the story.

The next step is that I have to go through the process of reading the entire third draft again, page by page, chapter by chapter, making sure that all of these little edits I did to the various chapters and structures and layout actually make sense.

While you’re editing, it’s easy to just pick a spot somewhere and drop a whole new chapter in. But what if it doesn’t make sense in the context of the whole book? And what if I say something about a character in that new chapter that hasn’t actually been discovered until later in the book.

Continuity is important to a book. Much like when you realized something out-of-order happened on Lost, you’d notice it even more in a book. Going through and finding those things is always a challenge and one that you hope your editor can help with. Thankfully, my editor’s awesome and always catches those mistakes.

I’m planning to start reading tonight and hopefully finish in a couple of weeks. Then it’s back to writing and editing for a final draft before sending it back to Lauren for her last edits.

Fingers crossed that she likes this version better than the first draft I sent over!

I won’t lie, when I first got Lauren’s feedback on my second draft, I was disheartened. I wanted to just throw the whole thing away and give up. With the lack of success of A Sour Chord and the negative feedback for the (then current) draft of My Last Days, I thought it might be time to end my experiment.

Then it hit me. It didn’t matter how successful I was at this. It didn’t matter how many copies I sold or how many books I’d sign. What mattered was that I got to do something I enjoy doing and that I’m financially stable enough to be able to spend money on artists and editors and promotions, even if I don’t make that money back.

So I hit My Last Days again. Hard. In the face. Okay, maybe not in the face, but I did trim a lot of fat already and added some more lean bits to the story. That’s a terrible metaphor, I’m sorry.

On July 1st, I started the third draft. I’m trying to incorporate as much of Lauren’s feedback as I can, while still staying try to the story that I set out to tell.

While, yes, I was upset by the feedback at first, as I’ve been editing, I realize that a lot of what she said is true. There’s a lot of validity to it and it’s proven quite helpful.

I’m still struggling with how to accomplish some of what I wanted to, while maintaining the changes that she thinks will be helpful, but I’ll get there. I’m already well past the date I wanted to be done with the book, so at this point it doesn’t much matter anymore. I’m on my own time now and hope to be done when I’m done. When I think it’s ready.

I’ve been setting aside an hour every night during the week to come back up to my desk to work on it. I’ve found that it’s too hard to just sit for an extra hour at the end of my workday, so I finish up, go downstairs, have some dinner, relax for a bit and then come back upstairs at 8pm after my brain’s settled down a bit.

The darkness seems to help some too – as the sun sets behind me and the room slowly darkens, it, somehow, helps my brain focus on what I’m trying to focus on.

Speaking of focusing, I use a wonderful OS X app called Alfred that makes a lot of what I do in my day job easier. I built a little “workflow” in it that helps me focus by forcing me to quit every app other than Scrivener (the app which I write in) and blocks all sorts of websites like Facebook, Twitter, etc. It also queues up my “movie score and classical music” playlist and plays random tracks from that. I’ve found that writing to music with lyrics distracts me, so I write only when I’m listening to instrumental tracks. It helps me not sit in silence, but also helps me motivate myself with the changes in tempo as each track changes.

So, if you’re out there and still following along, thank you. I know I don’t have a huge fanbase, so I appreciate that you’re still along for this ride, this experiment, with me. I hope to have My Last Days done at some point in the future so that I can share it with you. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed working on it.

It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here!  Sorry, I’m a bit excited.

I got the final edits from my editor over the weekend after what felt like a few days short of eternity.  Now that I’ve seen the complete edits, I understand why they took so long.  To say that Word’s “Track Changes” contained a lot of red would be a drastic understatement. There was red everywhere — and not just grammatical or spelling corrections, but a lot of story critique which was exactly what I wanted (and needed!)

As of yesterday, I’ve started plowing through the edits.  Slashing chapters, merging paragraphs, and destroying my overuse of negativity.

One of the most helpful things in the entire editing process was Lauren’s summary. She pointed out a bunch of flaws with the story, the characters, and my writing habits.  Most of which I’ve been oblivious to.  Having other people read the book has definitely been helpful, but having an editor read the book and point out what I’m doing wrong has been infinitely helpful.

I’ve enjoyed reading the comments, too.  It hasn’t all been negative (which I sort of feared, from the get-go) and some of the comments have been inspiring.  For the first time in a number of months, I’m feeling positive about this whole decision.

According to my notes, I started writing A Sour Chord on March 5th, 2013.  Just over 11 months ago.  My goal is to finish editing and be completely done with all of the rewrites I’ve got laid out for me by that same date of this year.  Thus making the entire process take exactly a year.

After that I just have to have some cover art designed and then publish the book to the various places I plan on selling it. (Amazon, iTunes and Barnes & Noble, to start.)  I don’t expect much in the way of sales, but hopefully someone somewhere will read it and enjoy it.

I’ve said from the get go — I’m not in this to be famous or make a zillion dollars.  It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do and see through to completion.  It’s a bucket list item, if you will. And I’m glad I’m going to finish it.

The editing process has come to sort of a screeching halt. It seems like that, anyway.  I guess I didn’t anticipate that this would take so long.  I finished the first draft 9 months ago and have been going through the editing process since.

So far, I’ve:

  • Had Austin read through the whole thing and do a rough edit to improve the story and fix any typographical errors.
  • Had a handful of friends and family read it for their feedback
  • Added to the ending a bit and added a few chapters throughout.
  • Began the full edit for the final draft.

It’s the final draft edit that seems to be sucking my will to live.

Honestly, the longer this whole process takes, the more discouraged I get and less likely I am to finish this thing.  Which is pretty terrible, given the time and money I’ve invested into it.  It’s just how I am, though. I lose interest when things take too long to finish.

I’m trying to stick it out, I’m just frustrated with the entire process and myself.  I had hoped to be done by my birthday at the end of September. That slipped and I set the expected end date to December 31st, that clearly won’t happen as we’re only about 10% done with the final edits.  Hopefully now that my editor’s on break from her teaching schedule, we can plow through the rest of it and be done.

Then all that’s left is the artwork (which I should probably have someone get started on) and publishing.

Then I can finally check off “become a published author” from my bucket list.  I’ll likely finish up the second book sometime after that, but I think I’m going to need a break from this whole thing for at least a month or two once this is all done.

Or will I? I haven’t touched My Last Days in nearly 2 months, so perhaps I can just jump right back in there and finish that first draft.  I know that one’s going to be kind of a nightmare to edit though, my thoughts have been all over the place and I recognize that I need some major help with that story.  I’m about 40,000 words in and I still don’t really know what it’s about. I’ve just been typing and thinking like a madman when I was working on it. Hopefully it’ll come to me and won’t end up being about something that’s been beaten to death.

As the year comes to a close, I am thankful for all that I’ve accomplished. Not just in writing a first (and second) draft of something I’ve had kicking around in my head for the better part of my 20s, but also for other things in my life that I’ve finally gotten done.  It’s been a whirlwind year and one that I’m (mostly) proud of.  Here’s hoping that 2014 will be as great for you as I anticipate it will for me. Happy New Year!

Through no fault of anyone’s, it seems like this whole editing process is taking way longer than I anticipated or want it to.

Six weeks ago, I put work on My Last Days on hold, so I could get back into the mindset of the characters for A Sour Chord, so the editing would be easier as each round of edits (a few chapters at a time) came in from my editor.  From the get go, I had no idea that this process would take so long.  I knew it’d take longer than the amount of time it took me to write the first draft, but I had no idea that it’d be by a factor of 8 or 9.

Since I’ve been feeling stagnant with things, I decided to jump back into My Last Days today and keep writing.  My creative mind needs to keep moving or I’m likely to keep coming up with ideas for more stories to write when I’m done with these first two and seeing as how I have no idea if these’ll even sell, it’s probably not best to put the metaphorical cart before the horse, as they said in olden times.

It’s been six weeks since I last wrote anything in My Last Days, so it took some time this morning to reacquaint myself with the characters and where I was going with the story last time I wrote.  I used iBooks (which is now available on my computer and not just my iPad and iPhone) and read through the first handful of chapters and the last handful that I’d written.

Then I began writing.  I typed and typed and got stuck.  I forced myself to get through close to 500 words before I just wasn’t feeling it anymore.  I’m not sure if it’s because of the lack of writing over the last six weeks, or if I’m just not feeling the story, or what’s happening, but today is not a day where I’ll knock out a few thousand words.

I do feel a little bit better since I’ve written something but not as great as I’d like to feel and not as productive.

I guess I’ll try again tomorrow (or this afternoon if I feel up to it) and continue to chug away at the edits for A Sour Chord as they come in.  I’m hoping that I’ll have the first book done sometime early in 2014 and make it available for sale.  Fingers crossed that it gets done eventually.