Well, on Sunday, I took my fingers from the keyboard and sat back, admiring the results of too many years of labour: creating, writing, editing, revising, cutting, tweaking.
It could go on forever, because I never run out of new ideas. But I have to stop writing. I mean, in December, I discovered that I had over 125,000 words. Way too long. I toiled away and cut it back to 109,000. Still hefty for print, but it’s time to get it out to my beta readers. No more hiding behind the ‘there’s still work to do’ wall.
I whipped up a cover (ugly, I know), but by the time I was ready to compile the seventy-two chapters from Scrivener to a Kindle version I could send out, I was heartily sick of the whole thing. Seeing it, even though I don’t like how it looks, made me feel like the project was real.
I sent it out to my first beta reader. She’s my inspiration but also my Ass-Kicker-in-Chief, pushing me to get the damned thing written when I’d lost my motivation and made excuses for not pushing ahead. She reads even more than I do, and her tastes are eclectic. She has a sharp eye, and a wicked sense of humour. She knows what makes a good story and I value her insights.
Thank you, darling Jess, for plowing through all 109,000 words in two days. Thank you for your thoughtful critiques and for liking the book. Thank you for identifying what I suspected all along – that there was a romantic chunk of plot I could remove without compromising the integrity of the story. Kenora thinks too much, and readers don’t need to know that if I effectively show what’s going on and how she reacts. That makes life easier. This is not an angst-y book, it’s a Women’s fiction with a mystery and strong romantic elements.
My daughter-in-law and granddaughter are next. After family (who will treat me honestly if a bit gently), it’s out to the world (my corps of willing/trusted beta readers) for critiquing.
The next book in the series won’t take as long. In fact, it’s about three-quarters drafted. But I know from slaving over the first novel that preparing a detailed outline and timeline will save me months when I finally sit down to write again. I’m also toying with changing the Point of View from first to third person, so that I can work in more atmosphere and reflect what the two primary characters are feeling.
Back to work! I am so pumped. Now if only the sun would come out for a couple of days.