This week I started editing my novel hardcore. I eat, breathe, and sleep in the world of Tove now. Yet despite spending numerous hours each day editing and revising, I am only a fraction of the way through this behemoth. This book is killing me. In a good way, though.
Before I started what will officially be the 3rd draft of this novel, I wrote down some basic info about it so far. It’s over 100,000 words, which is a little long in publisher’s eyes, and split into thirteen chapters. My goal for this current draft is to clean up a lot of loose ends in the story, little details or descriptions that I thought could lead into something more but are really just unneeded words, and to make all the themes throughout more concrete and solid. I’m also aiming to bring the word count down to at least 100,000.
So far, I’m trucking right along. But even though I’m spending hours a day on this, when I look at how much I still have to go… It’s more than a little daunting. This story is huge, so many things happen, and even at the pace I’m going now it’ll be a while before it’s finished. Because this is only the 3rd draft, there’s probably at least two more after this one, and that’s not even counting sending it to an editor.
So after working for a week, I’ve got the first four chapters is a condition that I’m fairly proud of. Fun fact: those four chapters are already longer than either of my novellas. That’s a lot of words, people. That’s a lot of reading, people.
But it’s all worth it for my master plan. Once these chapters have been read over by two beta readers, I’m going to hire an editor to comb through the first three chapters and make them pristine. Why the first three, you ask? Because publishers and agents usually only want the first three chapters sent with cold submission or query letters.
Upon getting those first three chapters back, I’ll begin sending them out to agents and publishers. I’ll also be studying the crap out of the edits provided and do my best to apply them to the rest of the book. I really enjoyed the editor I used for Greyheart because he was kind enough to write he reason for most edits and the grammatical rule for my errors in the margins, which helped me learn from my mistakes and have less issues in the future. I’m hoping I can get the same results this time.
Meanwhile, I’ve gotten some important edits back on my latest novella, The Definition of Family, and the results of the contest. I, uhh, *ahem* didn’t win said contest. In fact, I was really disappointed with the turn out. Only three novellas were submitted after several authors dropped out, and less than ten authors actually voted in the end. I received far less critiques and evaluations than I expected, and the quality of the other stories in the contest left much to be desired. Several people stated they didn’t even read my story because it’s considered YA, so by default they only considered the other two. And of the other two stories submitted, one was so bad that any advice given to the author was just a polite way of telling him how awful the story was. The author who won voted for my story because she said it was the most “complete and coherent story from beginning to end.” But because the protagonist is a high schooler and there isn’t that much action in it, many people just skipped it. I say again, disappointing.
But that’s all part of the writing game, ya dig? Whatever happens, happens, and it’s best to roll with it. There are other contests and publishers eagerly looking for novellas like mine, so I’ll be submitting in my spare time while continuing to hack away at the novel that’s not quite a novel yet.