It’s a wrap

NotebookThe second draft edit of The Dragons of Bloodrock is finished. If you’re wondering what the hell that means, it means I’ve concluded the processing of rereading and revising the manuscript of the novel to the point where I’m ready to let other people take a look at it, namely my agent and my long-suffering first readers.

Does this mean the book’s finished? Well, yes and no. It’s as complete as I can get it at this stage, but by now I’m so close to the damn thing I’m no longer the best judge of what’s working and what isn’t. So it’s time to hand the manuscript over to people I trust to give me honest and informed feedback. If I’ve cut out too much and left the narrative skinny and spare, they’ll tell me. If I’ve padded the text, leaving it bloated and breathless, they’ll tell me. If the thing just plain doesn’t work, they’ll tell me. They call it tough love.

The time has therefore come to start separating myself from this story I’ve lived with for most of this year. The moment of first reading feels a bit like sending your child out on his first day at school. I’ve done all I can: it’s up to the kid to survive now. It’s also up to me to start moving on.

If you’re wondering when you will be able to read the story of The Dragons of Bloodrock, I’m afraid it’s still very early days. The novel is currently unsold, but we’re exploring possibilities. As soon as I have any news on that score, I’ll announce it here first. But there’s always the possibility that – for whatever reason – the manuscript will end up gathering dust and never truly see the light of day. Most writers have a drawer full of broken or unwanted manuscripts. That’s the reality.

So what next? What springs to mind is a piece of advice I saw recently given to an aspiring writer. I can’t remember where I saw it or who said it – if you know, please share. ‘I’ve just written a novel,’ says the writer. ‘What should I do next?’ The answer is, ‘Write another one.’

That’s what I intend to do.

Comments

  1. Isn’t it hilarious that readers assume you write one of these things once, then edit, and presto it’s done ? I think mine was something like 9 drafts, total. And that was before it went through 2 editors. You really have to love the story.

    • Agreed. As daVinci said, a work of art is never finished, only abandoned. Even at galley proof stage I’ve had to resist the urge to make sweeping changes to a text. If you don’t love the story you might as well give up at the first page. And, like most love affairs, it’ll have you alternately dancing in paradise and throwing up in despair.

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