My current work-in-progress, The Light Never Lies, (the sequel to Disappearing in Plain Sight) is moving along towards publication. In today’s post, I’ll overview how the process has unfolded so far.
I followed Stephen King’s sage advice and wrote the first draft in one season – January through March. I put the draft away for a month. When I took it out, the dust had barely settled. I got busy with a complete read through. I made note of the key areas that needed work. In the rush of creation, I had left a few blanks where relevant research had to be done. Scenes needed to be fleshed out with the detail that would come from that research. I discovered that all the characters were nodding, shrugging, smiling, and looking around way too much. Some serious work on the beats was necessary. In Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Browne and King define beats as, “. . . the bits of action interspersed through a scene . . . the literary equivalent of what is known as stage business.” I turned to the Emotional Thesaurus by Ackerman and Puglisi, to broaden the ways I expressed character emotion and to get a bit more creative with how I described character movement.
My next step was a significant 2nd draft rewrite. I then sent the manuscript off to my go-to beta-reader. Her feedback centered on sections of narrative that took the reader out of the story, dialogue that seemed awkward, and scenes where my writing process became too conspicuous. (Translation – information dumps, scenes that screamed of author indulgence, and sections that did not ring true.)
I was back to the drawing board for the 3rd draft. I addressed most of the above concerns and then sent my latest draft off to a couple of other beta readers. I know I’ll have to wait a bit for their feedback – they’re both busy women – but my experience tells me that what they will have to share will make the wait worthwhile.
Meanwhile, back at the lake, my editor and I have plunged right into line-by-line editing. We break the rules a bit on this one. Many sources say don’t get into this type of editing until you have a draft that you’re satisfied with. But for us, editing now becomes an integral, reiterative process. As the manuscript tightens up, line-by-line, I see the thorny issues that have been left hanging. There are still narrative sections that are too much tell and not enough show. I’ve also held onto scenes that are not necessary and therefore not worth wasting the time to improve.
I work along with, ahead of and behind my editor. When we reach the end of the first section, we’ll go right back to the beginning and re-edit that whole piece before moving on. Somewhere along the line of this process, the other beta-readers will weigh-in with their opinions and I’ll do more cutting and/or clarifying.
At the end of the editing, I’ll give the manuscript to my last beta-reader – my husband, Bruce. This will be the time for his technical expertise as well as his knack for spotting typos and missing words. He’s also going to be looking for specific instances when the sequel falls short of standing alone – missing information we’ve taken for granted because we know the first story so intimately.
Then I’ll read the entire manuscript out loud to him. Hopefully, at the end of that, we’ll be as close as we’re going to get to the finished product.
On the self-publishing front, many of you remember that for Disappearing in Plain Sight, I went with Friesen Press, an assisted-self-publishing company. For The Light Never Lies, I will be going it on my own. With this in mind, I’m working on several fronts.
I researched and then registered as a business – Huckleberry Haven Publishing. On his recent visit, my talented son created a logo for me. I applied to the Canadian government for my ISBN numbers and then assigned individual ISBN’s for both the upcoming trade paperback and the e-book of The Light Never Lies.
I’m practicing my word document template and formatting skills in preparation for when I will have to load my manuscript up to CreateSpace. The picture has been chosen for the cover. I’m looking into different programs that would allow us to create a quality cover-design on our own. My husband Bruce has waved his hand furiously in the air wanting the cover-design job. Go to it, I say. I find that type of work far too picky for my tastes.
I still have things to accomplish. I have to do some research on how I go about getting a barcode, decide if I’ll contract out the e-book formatting or tackle that myself, figure out if I have to pay for copyright registration and how I go about that, and no doubt there are a bunch of other issues I don’t even know about. So – that’s where I’m at on the current work-in-progress.
I’d love to hear where other people are at in the writing process. Drop me a comment and let’s get a conversation going. I hope you enjoy the pictures of the pink, oriental lilies that are blooming in our garden right now.