Now that the book has been officially written, in that there’s a first draft and I can say with a reasonable degree of certainty that I know how it ends, I took a few days off before working on round two: Formatting, rewriting, and editing.
Yeah, yeah, here I go with the blur-o-vision again. And no, the page “shown” isn’t formatted properly. That’s just where I left off when I made the screen grab.
I’m still not ready to share any excerpts. During my “time off”, I did some research into the downstream steps in this process (such as querying agents) and I really don’t want to blow any holes in my feet too early. Besides, the book is still under revision and I don’t want to effectively release a teaser trailer that contains a raft of deleted scenes (cough – Rogue One – cough). I have been toying with the idea of writing some sort of short story highlighting one or more characters but that begs the question as to why that stuff couldn’t be in this or some other book. Gaaaah! The overthinking! Run for your lives!
Speaking of overthinking, my mantra of sorts is stolen from Disney Imagineering. I’m told that their internal challenge to each other when working on a concept is to make it 30% better. Then, I was reading about querying agents, and being faced with the possibility of being told, either by the agent or the publisher, “cut it by 20%”. Hey, I have experience in that area. So, no pressure, I’m trying to cut it by 20% (down to ~80K words from 101K) but improve it by 30%. I’m 22 chapters in (they’re short, don’t get excited) and already I have found some areas where I could have used one word instead of four.
I have decided that for the moment, I am going to focus on getting the draft fully converted to manuscript format, then I’ll print it off (no, not at work) and then review it as a hard copy to identify areas of improvement.
I’ve been driving Jaime up the wall, put mildly, as I research and obsess over this process. I really want this to work. I don’t have illusions about quitting my day job and having to wear a fake mustache to leave the apartment lest screaming hordes of fans chase me all over town. But day by day, as I work through this process I am feeling the wind at my back and I want to see where that wind takes me. Maybe Rejection City. Maybe I’ll have to get a bulk deal on fake mustaches.
A word about that before closing: I live in Florida. One of the major reasons for that, besides, you know, doing it on a wing and a prayer, is that Jaime and I are both in agreement that we don’t want our lives defined by regret. Have I lost, and lost badly, ever in my life? Absolutely, many times. But I do believe that it’s better to have tried and failed than to have not tried, and wondered “what if”. I’ve had enough of that. Florida couldn’t turn me away, and now I’m not letting the fear of rejection letters repel me from giving this my best shot.
/Hamilton music swells, and I didn’t even see it, but something something “my shot”
So, anyway, back to work. 30% better, baby. I’m doing this.