Novel Three: The End Game

It’s hard for me to believe that I’m finally at this point with my third novel. What point? The end game.

Yes, that’s right, I’m using February to go over the manuscript one last time before I send it on to my editor for proofreading.

Novel title: The Reach of the Banyan Tree

Tentative Release Date: July 2014

I wrote this novel last summer over a five week period. After I finished, I just set it aside for about six months and hardly gave it a second thought. I did send it out to some of my beta readers and got some good feedback. Still have a few copies out there that I’m waiting to hear from.

This past week, I’ve been using some of the feedback one of my readers gave me in order to expand and re-write a few sections. My reader was absolutely right – now it is better, and I am so grateful for her insight.

Now I will be doing a thorough read-through, looking to improve phrasing, provide clarity where needed, and make sure everything is in top-notch shape for my editor.

I expect to have the finished product by some point in April, and then I’ll ramp up the pre-release juices, getting ready for, hopefully, a big summer.

I’m really excited about this novel. It’s the novel that I first tried to write about a dozen years ago, and I failed miserably. I wrote about a page and a half before abandoning it.

Well, now it is almost here.

My designer has the book cover just about ready to go, and it’s fantastic!

I can’t wait for this year-long process to be over, so I can eventually get this work into the hands of readers.

It’s been a great journey thus far.

Time to start reading chapter 1 again.

5 Things Indie Authors Should Remember

This list should probably be the top 100 things indie authors should remember. Must expand later. But here are five things I always try to keep in mind.

1) Scrivener is awesome. Learn Scrivener. Learn it well. Sit back and acknowledge how freeing writing is by using it.

2) Never trust your own eyesight. (I can read a paragraph 6 times and it will be perfect. But on the seventh read, a misspelled or wrong word will suddenly jump out of nowhere into the middle of a sentence.)

3) You are a business. (I’m still getting my head around this idea.) You are the entrepreneur. You are the baker on the corner or the coffee shop downtown. You are providing a service – a greatly desired service. So therefore, you have to approach your writing as a business – from the financial aspect to the marketing aspect. You have to sell yourself and prove to people you mean business. (heehee).

4) Ignore the sneers of those who look down upon independent authors. Fortunately, there are fewer than their used to be. The standard has improved, but don’t be one of those authors who settle to just write and produce. Write with passion. Write as a professional, not as an amateur. Approach your topics seriously. Approach your readers seriously. Indie writing has nothing to do with vanity. It has everything to do with with passion, confidence, and an awful lot of hard work. So when a snooty website informs they don’t read or review independent authors, just chuckle to yourself that they don’t know what they’re missing. And move on.

5) Never stop improving. Seek out advice. Use advanced readers. Take criticism seriously – BUT be true to yourself and true to your story. Write what you want to say, not what they want to hear. Eventually, that passion will overflow and readers will follow. I believe that.

56,000 Moving Parts – Try Fixing That!

As far as I can tell, cars have on average about 14,000 moving parts. Complicated to fix? Yes, I think so. And my car knows a thing or two about having its parts moved around on a frequent basis.

Well, my new novel, The Recluse Storyteller, has 56,000 moving parts. As I’m in the final stages of editing and proofreading, I have become more appreciative of a good mechanic who knows how to diagnose a problem and twist parts around to make them flow smoothing and functionally. Oh, if my mechanic could do the same for the words of my novel!

I’m swimming in commas and em-dashes and en-dashes and strangely worded sentences that makes me wonder what I was doing when I wrote that.

I’m manipulating 56,000 parts with the hopes of getting the exact, perfect combination and arrangement to make readers “gasp” in joy when they read.

OK, I’ll settle for them just not throwing their Kindle against the wall!

A novel is a well-oiled machine. When everything is working perfectly, it flows, and pages whip by like the breeze in a Burmese cyclone. 

So I’m playing mechanic, arranging the parts into, hopefully, a smooth and functional, readable machine. 

Gotta love editing!

Proofreaders … ahh … well, hang on. A little snag.

Remember that cheeky post from the other day, gloating that I was done with revisions and ready to send to my proofreaders.

Well, no, that isn’t happening. Not yet.

Remember that other post I had about the curse of reading my own writing. As I started doing one final read-through before handing it to the proofreaders, I realized that I still had work to do.

So The Recluse Storyteller is getting yet another face-lift. It will be a gentle one without a lot of scar tissue, but I realized that it is absolutely an essential make-over because it is making the story that much better.

When you get to the point in editing where all you worry about are the darn commas, then perhaps you are ready for your proofreader.

But I caught a few snags that didn’t sit right with me and I refuse to push aside nagging snags no matter how badly I want to get the book finished. If I can improve it, I will.

And I am. This makes me happy.

I found some additional wonderful ways to tie the various stories of the storyteller together which add layers of meaning, complexity, and connections that will, hopefully, intrigue the readers even more.

I’m so excited about this book and it is STILL ON SCHEDULE. I built in extra editing time just for occasions such as this.

So at the moment, I’m half way through the manuscript for the umpteenth time. Once finished, I’ll give it a quick perusal and send to my proofreaders, hopefully, by the weekend.

Two months and one week until its release.

Excited!

The Curse of Reading One’s Own Writing

Will there ever come a day when I can just sit down and read my own writing? Period.

What I mean is, will there ever come a day when I can sit down and read my own writing without wanting to tweak the text?

Now I’m planning on re-reading The Recluse Storyteller just for effect. Maybe even out loud, just to hear it and enjoy it.

But I have a feeling it won’t work out that way.

I suppose it is nearly impossible for an author to approximate the experience that a reader would have upon first read.

Because when I re-read my writings, it usually goes something like this?

“Oh, why did I say it that way?”

“Does that really make sense? Let me re-word.”

“Does that detail totally match what I said earlier?”

“Comma. Yes or no?”

“Does anyone really care about split-infinitives?”

“Oh, an extra space.”

“This author doesn’t know what he is talking about.”

But, alas, what’s a writer to do? Never content.

With only one goal: striving for perfection, settling for excellence.

 

Done! Proofreaders, get ready.

This afternoon, basked by the warm shade of the palm trees, I finished editing and formatting The Recluse Storyteller – my soon-to-be released second novel.

The release date, barring any unforeseen circumstance, is October 8 – my birthday. What an awesome present I’m giving myself.

I’m really excited about this novel. Very different. Yes, funny, strange, emotional, and unexpected. Leading up to the release, I’ll be highlighting each of the stories that the recluse storyteller tells.

But for now, I want to warn my proofreaders. You know who you are. The draft is coming to you soon, so get your eyes sharpened, and be that nit-picky, 12th grade grammar teacher we all hated.

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