I haven't been very good about keeping this blog updated, but I have given the manuscript another read-through, which went pretty well! I'm going to input the changes, and then I guess just wait for my art to come in and do the layout!
I've been a little focused on the property (late spring is when everything runs amok around here), but today I took the time to work on the writing group's suggestions. I'll probably give it a few days before I give the whole thing another read....
Yesterday I did the writing group--it was good, I got some valuable feedback about getting the first chapters to hook people in more. I can't make the changes today, but I've definitely got a lot of ideas.
I input changes for the rest of the manuscript, so now I'm going to print it out and go over it again--maybe give it a couple of days before I do that.
I forgot to write one earlier, but the other day I input changes for chapters 8 & 9. That doesn't sound like much, but there was something there that was VERY confusing to both beta readers, so I had to substantially rework one of them to really nail down the relevant backstory.
Then today I input changes up through chapter 16. Whoo!
I input changes for the first seven chapters, plus I submitted the first three to the writing group. Yay!
Life has been busy--and not just for me, I had to grant a deadline extension to my crack team of illustrators.
But I have managed to hook back up with the writing group I used to be in a few years ago--they're still around, so that's nice, and I felt like the feedback was still pretty good quality. So my thinking is, I'll input the changes from the beta readers (no, haven't done that yet) and then have the writing group go over at least the first part.
So, I'm back in action. I got the manuscript back from an adult beta reader, and I think there's some good feedback--it's interesting because many of the same things that confused the 12-year-old also confused the adult.
Speaking of the 12-year-old, her 8-year-old sister caught wind of the profit potential from illustrating books, and now she wants in on the action. (The deal for the older niece is that I'll pay her $10 an illustration for up to six illustrations--I gave her a deadline and everything.) Since the protagonist is seven, I may have the younger niece produce a couple of drawing "by" that character....
As you might have imagined, life has Gotten Busy, and it's going to stay busy until the end of the month. But today I was hanging out with the older niece, who is one of the beta readers for my YA book, and she brought up that she's started the book and is really enjoying it (although a couple of things confuse her--some I think will become clear as she reads on, but some I've taken note need to be clarified). She's very into drawing and is pretty good at it, so she started drawing things from the book. Seeing that, I mentioned to her that if she were to, say, produce maybe five or six illustrations of different scenes at various points in the book, they could very well wind up in the finished product.
She was really excited by the idea initially...but she's already developed some performance anxiety. Like, she runs track, but she won't go to track meets because it's too much pressure. (She's about the age I was when I quit performing on stage because I realized there were people out there in the audience, so I can relate). You could see an hour later that the Wow! stage was waning and the Oh crap! stage had begun. That actually makes me want her to do it more--I'd like to help her power past the intimidation stage of things just to show her that it can be done--but I may have to provide some additional motivation (most likely $$$) to make it happen.
Right now with the YA book, I'm waiting on the beta readers, and (since I've got the cover done) there's not much for me to do until they finish up.
I don't know when they'll finish, though, and there's some other stuff going on that's interrupting my time. But I've got 30 chapters of Trials written, and they're rough drafts, so I think what I'll do is just start editing the earlier chapters. I actually kind of need to reacquaint myself with that book, since it's been a while, so this will hopefully kill two birds with one stone.
Ugh--I tried to make a chapter ornament today (using the dragon from the cover), but it wound up being a surprisingly fiddly exercise that was not helped by the fact that I didn't get quite enough sleep last night. Some non-book stuff just came in the mail, so--I'm going to bail. I'll take another crack at it tomorrow, when hopefully I'll be better rested and things will come easier.
Hey! I input the changes, did a spell-check, and printed out two copies for my beta readers. God, I've forgotten what a pain printing out book-length material can be--I'm ordering more toner....
And I tallied up the word count one more time: 45,700 words, which I think is good for this kind of book.
I took a little trip to get some sun, and I also managed to, uh, stay cooped up inside in the dark and finish editing the YA book! (Do you get the feeling that my goals are sometimes kind of at odds with each other?)
I got back late last night and am still beat, so I'll probably input the changes tomorrow.
I've been editing the hard copy over the past couple of days--12 chapters done!
I had an interesting moment because, since this is a YA book, I wanted to have my 12-year-old niece give it a read (she's done this for other writers, so it's not a huge, weird pressure for her). So I asked my sister about it. My sister has been putting out books of her own these days, and it was kind of alarming how she was like, "Yes, she can beta it! And this person can beta it! And that person can beta it! And this other person can beta it! Oh, if we're going to have all these people beta it, we can't leave so-and-so out!"
Oh my God--I had to stop her. It's just the difference in process: My sister will take something that she doesn't consider really done and have a million people beta the crap out of it. She's totally fine with that and considers it completely necessary. I wait until I'm basically happy with the book, and then let a couple of people who I trust beta it. Really all I'm expecting them to do is catch things I've missed--like, oops, you never described your protagonist, or oops, you've got some crucial event happening offstage. I feel like if you invite in all and sundry, you'll wind up with people like--well, like me if you asked me to read over your romance novel. People whose input is Less Than Helpful.
I think part of it, too, is that (even though it's been taking me forever to get things done) I do like to be efficient. Waiting for an entire community to weigh in just seems like a big waste of time to me--they can do that after the book is published!
Yes! Today didn't start out looking like it was going to be very productive (I was all like, "I've jinxed it!"), but then some time opened up and I was able to FINISH this last edit, as well as spell-check and print out the last few chapters! YAY!
Now I will read over the hard copy, make any changes, and see if I can't lasso in some beta readers!
I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, so I just did some minor edits on the YA book, spell-checked, and printed out the first 19 chapters. The cool things is that I'm to the point where I'm about to bother with hard copies! There's only 5-6 chapters left to edit on the computer, so fingers crossed for tomorrow!
I edited chaps 10-19--actually it was the old chaps 10-20, but I decided that chapters 19 & 20 would be better off combined.
It's going well! I've forgotten how much easier and more enjoyable this stage of things is....
I tried getting into Trials, but it felt like my head was already too full of the YA book--switching between writing projects may not be something my one-track mind does very well. So I started another editing pass over the YA book, and did chapters 1-9.
Things are calming down enough that I decided to read over the last few chapters of Trials. Uf, that's a much more complicated novel! I may need to read over it a bit more and give it some more thought--tomorrow's actually going to be busy, but hopefully I can get back writing on it soon.