Tuesday 11 June 2013

Second draft complete and a word of warning

I haven't posted anything for quite some time (a month in fact) and there are a few reasons for that. The main one is that I have been taking a break from writing. I finished my first draft at Easter in line with my original plan that I posted back in January. Following on from that, I then went through the draft and added missing content, included some extra historical detail, rewrote sections and generally honed and polished the manuscript.
At that stage, as I was beginning to slow down following the intense period of writing the first draft, I realised I had been neglecting the rest of my life to some degree. Top of the list of those things I needed to focus on and spend more time with were my wife and daughters, who had patiently allowed me to tap away furiously on my laptop through the long winter months.
So, with the days growing longer and warmer, and the draft reviewed, I have been spending some quality time with those closest to me. And jolly nice it is too! We've been on holiday to Cornwall, had BBQs in the garden and generally chilled out and recovered from what has been one of the longest, wettest and dullest winters I can remember.
It has only been in the last few weeks that I can see quite how immersed I was in the writing process. A word of caution to all other first-time novelists out there: it is easy to forget the important things around you when you are conjuring up a world of fiction in your head, so be careful to ensure you spend time with your partner and kids if you have them.
My day job has also been intensely busy, meaning that for lots of the time I would have often been too tired to think of writing anyway.
So, where am I now with the book?
Well, as I said, I have finished the second draft. I have also printed it out to have a look at what 95,000 words looks like. If you are interested, here is a picture of the manuscript on my desk at home.

Seeing it like that did make it seem more real than just words on a screen. I had written that much? Wow! It is kind of a surreal feeling.
In my original plan, I had said I would send it out to some test readers and then engage a professional editor. I have actually ended up doing both at the same time.
I have sent the first 15,000 words of the manuscript of The Serpent Sword to an editor for an initial assessment and I have also sent a handful of copies of the draft in .mobi format (Kindle's proprietary format) for close friends and family to read and provide feedback on.
I intend to send out more copies for test readers following receiving and implementing comments from the editor in a few months.
I have made the decision that I will try to get an agent and a traditional publishing deal. If after a few months I find that impossible, I will self-publish on the Kindle Store, Smashwords, etc.
Things are moving on. I have not forgotten the blog, but I post on Twitter and Facebook more regularly with small updates, so please follow me and like the Facebook page (buttons on the top right of the page).
I have the ideas for the sequel bubbling on in the back of my head and I'll start jotting some of those down soon. I hope you stick around for the ride, and with any luck, you'll actually be able to read the finished version of The Serpent Sword in the not too distant future.

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