Right now, the complete “Dark Empire” book exists in three parts:
1) The file on my computer,
2) The entire manuscript printout from my editor, and
3) Minor changes and two major added scenes mostly in my head.
I’m currently working through the printout to make changes to the computer file. As I work through this process, I am finding it important to really consider the changes the editor proposed. Instead of blindly accepting the changes, I’m working through them to make sure they:
1) Match my writing style,
2) Clarify the meaning I was trying to convey, and
3) Read correctly when added.
Many times, moving a phrase around in a sentence means changing the verb tense or updating the punctuation. And after working through page after page, it gets easier to make mistakes or forget a comma. The light in my home office leaves something to be desired so I have to be especially detail-oriented in reviewing text that seems to get smaller as the minutes pass.
I’m also lucky that none of the changes my editor proposed were upsetting (some of us writers are mighty protective of our work), overwhelming (well, not TOO overwhelming), or contrary to my goals for the book or the characters. My response might have been quite different if she’d suggested massive rewrites of plot line or proposed changes in complete opposition to my manuscript’s direction. Some writers don’t call that luck, they call it planning. I think it’s a mix of the two.
It also helps my cause that I don’t see too many parts of my story as sacrosanct: my goal is to write a book series people will find engaging, entertaining, and thought-provoking. I want readers to like my characters (or to like to hate them, for the baddies), and to care about what happens to them. I’ve created characters that mean something to me, and put them in situations that force them to make tough decisions. Sometimes, they meet the challenge, and other times, they fall. To that end, this book is a project that just happens to share a piece of my soul. I’m proud of my work but recognize that other people may have valid suggestions to make it better.
Then there’s the part about the looming deadline. I really want to have the book available for purchase before Christmas. Counting backward from that deadline, factoring editing time and other computer interaction time, I have less than two weeks to get the manuscript edits finished.
Currently, I’m on page 52 of 277 in the printout, after finding about two hours over the weekend to started. At 25 pages/day, plus time to finish writing the additional scene I need, I’ll be hard-pressed to meet my two-week goal, but I think it can be done.
Wish me luck! You’ll hear from me next when I’ve completed these edits.