Friday, 12 August 2011
Trial and error
I’ve just handed in the third draft of my second YA novel for Piccadilly Press.
It’s a longer book than my first one, plus the story is more complex. The second draft came back with loads of comments from my editor...so many in fact that I groaned and collapsed in my chair when I read them. Annoyingly, they were all great suggestions [she’s like that, damn her]. Everything she highlighted, I was probably aware wasn’t working deep down. I spent a good few days brooding, mumbling and generally fretting.
Then I picked myself up, dusted myself down, put on my thinking cap and got out the highlighter pens and jumbo pads of paper. I was ready to go back in. I finally emerged, blinking into the sunlight, at the end of last week. It felt as though life was on hold until I’d got it done.
But it struck me that it’s a quite different process when you deliver a book, post-publication, to when you’re starting out.
When you’re trying to get published, your manuscript often goes through various edits. You may, as I did, pay for a professional report [I used Cornerstones]. I also had input from two different agents [who didn’t subsequently sign me...but that’s another story] and re-wrote accordingly. So by the time my editor at Piccadilly Press saw what is now Dark Ride, it had been through a fair number of changes.
This time round, my editor wanted to see my other book before it was even finished. It was, shall we say, rough... so rough that I cringe to think about it. Keep going, she said, though. This could be good.
A good few months later and we’re up to the third full draft. I’ve had some despairing moments and I think there’s still work to be done. But it helped when I reminded myself of just how much polishing had taken place the first time round, before my editor even saw the manuscript.
I’m now in the horrible no-man’s-land of waiting to hear back again. I was hoping to forget about it until after my holidays but she tells me I’ll hear back within ten days. Cue much gnashing, wailing and rending of garments.
I just hope that with every draft I write, I’m getting a little closer to the finishing line. Wish me luck... ?