The second iteration of a book manuscript is like an inescapable black hole draining time and energy from the universe.
Some authors may disagree with this statement, but that’s my take on it.
The process for the first draft of the book looked like this:-
For me, research involves travelling to amazing places to experience the culture and meet the locals. Most of the background comes from the real life setting, although there is always some detail that crops up during the writing stage that needs to be looked up on the internet. The answer is never what I guessed it would be.
Research is probably my favourite part of the whole writing process.
In the outlining stage, all the notes from the trip and all my ideas about the storyline are thrown into a melting pot, given a good stir, tried in different combinations and sequences and eventually emerge as a plot.
That overarching plan is then broken down into chapters. Each chapter gets an outline of its own.
It’s a very creative and enjoyable time.
The writing stage is where the story runs wild and I just try to keep up with it.
Often, at this point, the characters take over and the story starts to evolve. New ideas are added in as they come along, creating a rich and interesting narrative, that I feel very proud of having produced.
Now compare this to the revisions process, which includes second and subsequent drafts. It goes like this:-
To replan, take one beautifully crafted plot, add necessary information that was omitted the first time, subtract paragraphs that aren’t adding to the story (usually the best written ones) and move scenes around to maintain a steady pace of progression. If you love what you’ve created, this can be painful.
Rewriting includes revising chapters you thought were finished, to accommodate the changes identified. It may also be necessary to add transitional scenes to enable the relocated sections to fit in more naturally.
This part is hard work.
Feedback is when people tell you what they don’t like about the manuscript you’ve just spent six months writing.
When you have recovered from this ordeal, you get to repeat the previous step.
Editing is the check for flow, consistency, spelling, grammar and over-used words. Tedious, but important, this is the stage when authors often wonder why they wanted to write the book in the first place.
Throughout the revisions process, an author may feel anxious about how long all this is taking.
Anxiety is optional (and not recommended) but the time pressure is real.
The reason for this is that authors have bills to pay. Having multiple titles available significantly increases the chances of a sale.
In my case, there is a second reason for wanting to complete the book soon, and it is actually pretty awesome. People who have read my first book have started contacting me about when the next book will be published because…
…they are waiting to read it!
If revising a manuscript is like a black hole, then being contacted by a reader who is waiting for your next book to come out is like a supernova.
There is a high-energy explosion throwing out positive vibes and renewed enthusiasm in all directions.
Huge thanks to those fantastic people. Now I just have to create some order from this wonderful chaos!
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