Monday, May 19, 2014

The all-important read-thru.


OK.  All the narrative pieces of Faerylander are in place -- I think.

So now all I want to do is go through the manuscript and clear away any inconsistencies.  I'm hoping not to slow down my reading in doing so. I probably should have a notebook at hand to make any bigger changes when I'm done reading.

Then, hopefully with the help of friends, I can shape it up for the last time.

I hadn't even intended to work on it today, but I knew that I needed to add a bit more transitional narrative here and there to smooth over the big cuts, and I wanted to get the timeline right.  So I did that.  I may or may not keep the time tags I put in there.

I think it's a complete book now.  It just needs to be finalized.


I'm going to spend the next three days giving Faerylander a complete read-through.  I want to get a "reader" sense of the narrative.  I'm guessimating about 10 or 12 hours, in 3 sessions of 4 hours. 

I'd like to read it outloud, because that makes it easier to catch mistakes -- even better would be to have someone to read it to.  But I don't dare ask Linda who has already read it more than once.  Nor may I end up reading it all aloud -- it gets tiring after a while.  I may try read aloud for an hour, take some time off, come back and read for an hour.  I don't want the breaks to be too long, because like I said I need the sense of how it comes across to a reader.

 (A strange thing happens when you read aloud -- you might read it slightly differently, and the way you read it is almost always better than the way it was written, as if the brain is editing as you read without you being aware of it.)

I will make small changes -- in tense, names, etc. -- but nothing major.  Anything that takes more than a few moments,  I'll write a short note and come back later.

If I do this right, this should be a done book even without the editors.  My books are usually copy-edited well enough by myself to pass muster, though there are always a few things I miss.  The editors for me are really a matter of improvements and for adding the final luster.


I'm just going to have to assume that Faerylander is readable, because it really is pretty much a word-jumble to me.  But I have to trust in the original ideas and concepts, the original feelings, and also trust that all the "conscious" changes are an improvement.  

Whenever I've done this in the past, the readers seem to think the books are just as good as the books that haven't turned into a word-jumble, sometimes even better, which is reassuring.

I'm hoping I can find a strong author voice for this book in the final reading, and carry it through to the end.  


Unknown said...

I really admire you for sticking with Faerylander: I know it’s been fighting you tooth and nail. And I also know you’re one of those savvy writers who sees the need for and appreciates your editors (including yours truly). I do want to point out, though, that 1) It depends on what you mean by “pass muster,” :-) and 2) In addition to correcting errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, and usage, editors also ensure style consistency, catch anachronisms, point out timeline issues, note problems with tone and pacing, and suggest improvements (e.g., “Adding some description here would make it easier for your readers to visualize this character.”). See, editors are really gem cutters: after a lot of hard work finding, mining, and carrying them on often perilous journeys, authors bring us their diamonds in the rough, and we painstakingly tap and craft and cut and polish them, unlocking their potential until their true beauty is revealed.

Duncan McGeary said...

This baby is going to need it. I've changed so many names and titles and locations and times and pronouns.

I mean the story is all there, but it is really going to need that gem cutting...