With four days to go it’s panic time. Did I order enough books? Do I have enough postcards? This will be the first book fair I have been to as an author. It exhilarating and nerve wrecking all at the same time. The cat’s idea of helping consists of opening the boxes and pulling the packaging out.
This has been months in the planning, but there are always the last minute things that tend to be forgotten. Pencil in the date, ask for help and let people know. The last two weeks have gone so fast. I am looking forward to a wonderful, if not exhausting, day.
The whole process of editing can feel like it goes on forever. At some point, after almost giving up several times there is the end. More to the point it’s an artificial end because this is where the draft is ready to hand off to someone else to check. There are a few things on my list for preparation before I hand anything over.
Checklist Before Handover
Each type of story will vary in what you need. I write fantasy so my list looks like this.
Check names, terms and places.
Ensure the master Glossary is complete (this is for the editor).
Check all italics and unusual formatting.
Check basic formatting such as numbering.
Consider the size of the document and preferred format (my editor prefers paper copy).
It may feel like you are on your own when writing and with the initial stages of editing. This part is where communication is key. Make sure your editor has time allotted and is expecting the draft. Make sure to confirm your arrangements including time frames and expectations. By this stage you are probably so sick of editing that you can’t wait. This is all about letting a fresh set of eyes go over the work. Each story has its own nuances so keep an open mind and be prepared to make changes.
It’s surprising to think how different each story can be. At first the focus was solely on finding the ideal method to shorten the writing process. It would be nice the story wrote itself, but there is still hard work to be done. Figuring out them how left me trying several different ways to outline, write and keep track of time.
The first story was a meandering journey that led down several paths. It took a whole six years to write the first draft and I was determined to shorten this. The easiest book to write was the second, providing a false sense of optimism. The third was almost as quick, yet almost half needed to be rewritten. From there it took a long, sometimes frustrating path, working through the four story. I won’t lie, there were times when it would have been easier to leave the fourth book unfinished. What kept me going was the fact that it was part of a series.
Reaching the End
After spending so much time editing it was still a massive task to back and find story within the draft. The first draft took three years, far longer than I expected. Yet there were many obstacles between those years that prolonged the process. The story had also become complex. Characters had grown and changed. The story had a lot of heavy lifting to do to fit in with the development of the series. The stakes in the story had risen and it was time to wrap up loose ends. The journey moved in a different way. I can certainly say it was worth staying with the story until the end.