Line-edits and revisions are complete. My first novel, Serpent’s Smile, now enters the review process.
More than 20,000 words have been removed to tighten-up the story. Back-story has been chopped and scattered for better flow, or condensed for clarity.
It’s taken fifteen months of serious work to reach this point. Initial plotting filled the first month. With that done, I knew who had to do what, where and with whom.
The next nine months–funny how that worked out–saw the “first draft” being written and posted one chapter per week with only a couple of breaks.
The last four and a half months, have seen the editing take place that transformed the first draft into what I hope is an eminently more readable story.
The past few weeks have been consumed doing what many refer to as line-edits. These are changing sentences with passive voice to active voice–where such a change improves readability, and inserting commas, joining and breaking sentences again, in the interest of the reader. (For much of this final editing, I used the excellent Grammarly premium-edition product.)
A formal review process by test readers starts tomorrow. Each reviewer will receive a printed edition and be asked to read and critique the book. I will interview each of those readers, get their comments and, with everyone’s comments in view, decide what changes to make.
If you are interested in being a test reader, let me know privately by the Contact menu at the top of the page or through a public comment in the “Leave a Reply” box at the bottom of this page.
After I’ve completed revisions suggested by test readers, then I will hire a paid, professional editor to look at the book from the highest possible level. He or she will answer some key literary questions.
- Does the lead character change in a believable manner over the course of the 350 pages?
- Do the other characters behave in credible manners given their backgrounds?
And they will hopefully answer the most challenging one:
- Is this a marketable piece of fiction that will attract a major publisher, or if not, can some of the 83,500 words be salvaged?
Assuming I get a positive response, then I will finally enter the realm of fiction novel publication. First step there will be to line up a Literary Agent and, through them, a publisher. That process will add a year, perhaps two before a hardcopy book sees the light of day.
So, I’m a little over a year in. And there’s as much as two years to go.
The real start, however, came back in 2003 on a business trip to Wuhan China when I was otherwise unemployed for a year. Little did I imagine what would develop from my two-hour hike through a Chinese forest one Saturday.