Redrafting the manuscript…again

A few months ago, I hired an editor to take a look at my novel. This was a big step for me, to look beyond beta readers and go for more professional advice. I took my time to find the right one and with their help, picked the right services.

Once the first step had been completed, I took some time to think about the feedback I’d been given and how I could best make the changes needed to address the points I wanted to – some were points left intentionally to work into the trilogy as a whole.

Now, I’ve finished my part of it and I’m ready to move onto the next step.

Taking some time to process things

I’m fortunate that I’m used to receiving feedback. Hell, I look forward to it. I always want to do better and improve my craft and my stories.

That’s why I was able to take the feedback on board quite quickly and start making a plan. Most of it was positive, and I decided that fewer smaller changes would do much better than a few larger ones. This meant I’d have to pay attention to smaller details and the ramifications of those throughout the manuscript but, even now it’s done, I stand by that choice.

I spent a chunk of time wondering if I’d done too much, or not enough, but in the end, I’ll see what the next phase of this process throws at me and what needs to be done next. Either way, I’ll be more aware of this going forward with the next book.

Even then, the feedback I didn’t expect didn’t knock me down too much, either. Some of it related to things I want to address in further books to make them more connected, but that doesn’t mean I can ignore it entirely here.

I can see now the benefits an expert’s eye can bring.

Dealing with distractions

As you might know by now, I tend not to stick around in one place for too long. The last year saw me stick to Wellington, with work and Covid both playing a part in that decision.

I had hoped that my last few weeks at Wellington would let me go through the manuscript and get it ready for the next service I need to have done, but as usual, life had other plans.

I managed bits and pieces but there were friends to see and say goodbye to, work to finish and packing to do. I’m the kind of person who likes to set aside time and get on with things, but given my nomadic lifestyle, I don’t want to miss out on life, either.

That means I had to take some distractions and finish the work this week, while in my current home of Queenstown. It’s been a good balance; explore, do things and write. I can’t complain at all, so far, and it’s worked out nicely, if I do say so!

Overwhelming relief

Having got it done, there’s a sense of relief.

Don’t’ get me wrong, there’s still more to do. Another round with my editor, Rachel, is coming early next year and even beyond that, there’s the work to get everything ready to self-publish. That means that while I can relax a little and take a little breather, there’s no time to let up.

Not only that, but books two and three are looming. Their first drafts are done but I don’t want those redrafts to take as long as this one has.

Even with my travelling, I’m going to have to get better at managing my time.

But for now, I’ve got another project that demands my attention.

Surviving lockdown and self-isolation

The last seven weeks have been incredibly difficult for people around the world. The emergence of Covid-19, it’s fast spread and devastating effect on people, countries and economies are well-documented.

Different approaches have been adopted by everyone, from world leaders to families, and it’s clear the effects they have.

On a personal level, though, I spent the start of lockdown (here in New Zealand) wondering what to do. I was fortunate to be able to continue working – although I’m not going to lie, I was a bit envious of those who had some free time to do things – but if I was going to be stuck inside for however many weeks, I wanted to do some, to achieve something.

The goals of lockdown

First of all, getting through lockdown is the goal. I’m aware it’s ended here (for now, at least) but others around the world are in a different situation. Before reading any further, I want to stress to you that I took this approach because it’s what was best for me.

If the best thing for you is to binge Netflix, spend time with the family, sleep a lot, go to work, learn a new language or any other idea – then do that. Sure, try something new but no one has the right to take aim at how you get through this. We should be supporting each other, and I’m glad I had friends who gave me the support I needed to get through lockdown in my own way.

So, I set two goals. The first was to work on my current novel-length project. I had started in January 2020, and while that month had been busy with a new job, February and March proved more productive. I was about two-thirds of the way through when lockdown started, and I hoped to get another third done.

The second goal was to start working on the content for Innate Wanderings since it’s little reboot. I’d stopped the updates due to the global situation, but there’s a lot I want to cover over there.

Completing the project

Of these two goals, I completed one – and then some. Even while working full-time, I worked to get three chapters a week done, and after the first four weeks of lockdown, I had met the original target. I could have stopped there, or reduced how much work I did on it to meet my other goal, but I felt like I was on a role.

Over the next three weeks (and if I’m being truthful, the first few days after lockdown ended, too), I finished the first draft of the project. Is it perfect? Not at all, but it’s a good foundation to start from as the editing process begins later this year. It’s a bigger achievement than I expected to have by this point in the year – the original plan was to finish this draft in the last quarter of 2020 – and it’s given me a huge sense of satisfaction.

Having this goal made lockdown and self-isolation easier. Without the distractions of life, it felt like a good use of time and stopped me focusing or dwelling on the negatives the situation brought.

As a result, the content for Innate Wanderings didn’t come to fruition but there’s time for that later.

So, what next?

Well, as is my custom, I’ll take a bit of a break from writing. I had other plans, and I may dip into them after a while but whether it’s more blogging or short stories, I’m not sure yet.

With lockdown coming to an end in New Zealand, I’ll have time to do some exploring again. There’s a lot to see, and an economy to support. We’re coming into winter, so there are time and weather restrictions to figure out. On top of that, I have friends to see and a couple of games I neglected over the last couple of months.

That means plenty of things to keep me occupied while I’m taking this break and letting my mind recover.

Until then, my friends. Take care!