Explaining to anyone what stage I’m at in my novel this year is a difficult proposition, since I’ve been trying to do several things all at once. I’ve partially written book two in my Across Black Waters series but stopped to go back and finish revising and polishing book one and figure out how to market it before getting back to book two. I hope to put the finishing touches on Breathing in Bombay by mid-March, take a few more weeks to aggressively polish it up, then start the query process and launch a web site.
If that weren’t enough, I entered three contests for unpublished authors in January, and was surprised when one of them asked me to be a judge for another category in the same contest. I agreed, in the expectation that I will be “between books” at that time (late March to early April). I hope I’ll be between books, that is, or else I’ll be juggling more than usual those weeks.
The March deadline looms heavy at the moment, since it’s taken me the better part of the month to prep just the first four chapters for the contests. I made between five to ten passes on each of those chapters individually before considering them complete and error free. And of course, as soon as I entered the contests, I immediately found all kinds of things I could have improved before submitting. Nature of the business, I suppose.
I’ve been working on the same first novel for a few years now but this is about the fourth rewrite (or so) and I’m hoping the last. Some chapters have seen up to ten rewrites so it’s difficult to quantify the progress. The overall manuscript is in better shape than I’d thought, at least that’s what I’ve been told, but needs finalizing.
Revision is slow and can be painful for me but I need the fairly grueling schedule. It’s exciting to have a challenging deadline and try to push forward to meet it. Researching agents, working on the query letter, and figuring out web site design also help keep up my momentum and energy level. And editing the work of other writers also keeps editing of my own work more focused. The combination of all these tasks remind me every second of my end goal, something that eluded me till this year.
With lots of luck and hard work, I hope to get back to book two before summer, with plans to flesh out plans for books three and four in more detail before the end of the year. If I’m able to meet these other self-imposed deadlines, who knows? I may be writing book three at NaNoWriMo this fall. Tune in here to find out.