Back on February 19, 2019, I posted a note about my difficulties with a book on which I was working. It was something of a pep-talk to me, trying find ways of pushing on. Now, I have the first full draft of the book—which is to say the eighty something drafts of the book. In fact, I really don’t know how many times I have re-written it. Sometimes I rewrote because it was inept. Sometimes I rewrote because I shifted the plot. Or added to the plot. Or discovered a hole in the plot. Or just to make it better. Or was continually bugged by a word in that second sentence of Chapter One.
I informed my editor I had a draft of the book. True, but not true, because I continued to work.
I ran the text through my Word spell and grammar checker. I ran it through Grammarly. (They point out different things.) Such apps don’t catch all my mistakes (spelling, commas, dropped words, double words) but enough to make it worthwhile. Easier to read. All this as I continued to rewrite.
I sent the book to a friend who always reads my work and awaited her criticism. I sent it to my agent. Her thoughts. Then, I asked my wife if I could read it to her. That I did, over successive nights. “This is good,” she finally said, to my enormous relief because she is a very tough critic. (Trust me: She has not always said “good.”) From time to time she would say, “Wait……. Didn’t you…?.” and she would point out a misstep, a flaw, a problem.
Most importantly, as I read, I noticed things to change, add, cut. Here a sentence. There a paragraph. Put something in. Take something out. Most important of all, gaps in logic, missed connections, better ways to tell the tale, better words. Rewrite…rewrite…….
Then back over the whole book. Change the font. Change color of the screen. Margins. Anything to let me see the book anew. Rewrite, rewrite……….
And always, always, always, I find things that can be bettered. Sure, I tell myself, no perfect book, but still, how did I miss that? Wait a minute; doesn’t this character need to…………
In a couple of weeks I’ll send the manuscript to my publisher. Nervously. Changes will always be requested. Back to work. Will it be published? Stay in touch………
Oh, by the way: it’s my next year’s income………….