In less than two weeks, I’ll officially be a published author.
Technically I’m already that because of some short stories and a poem, but this is the big one. This is the first novel.
We’re through with editing and it’s been handed off to the proofreader. She’s contacted me with a few questions (“So, Flamewalker. Is that all one word? Because I can’t find it in the dictionary.” I reply, “It’s fantasy. I get to make up words.”), and says she’s enjoying the read. Hope she’s the first of many.
I learned a lot in editing. Word Branch assigned me an amazing guy, to whom I’ll forever be grateful. If you’ve never been professionally edited, it’s quite an interesting experience. I’m not sure what I expected, but what I got was the best set of eyes this manuscript has ever had on it. My beta readers are great, but they’re looking for different things than editor John.
John’s a tough audience. He doesn’t let me get away with anything. His most common comment was, “you’ve already said that, like, 97 times. Can we please cut this?” and “that’s a really long sentence. Let’s break it into two.” Those things didn’t surprise me. When I wrote Flamewalker (which is the first novel I wrote, three years ago), I imagined it being read by people who might put it down for a week here or there. It seemed prudent to remind them of stuff. Every chapter. The story has two main point of view characters and I though readers might forget what the protagonist was doing while they read the antagonist’s latest crime. John assures me that this is not true. So if you read this book and find yourself going, “wait, who is that again? What just happened here?” blame him.
We cut a lot of repetition and a lot of needlessly wordy blather.
But we also added some stuff. There were times he’d say, “Really? This big moment, this important thing just happened and you’re going to summarize it? NO NO NO! Bad writer! Write me a scene!” So I’d write him the scene, because he was always totally right, every time he’d ask.
And that’s why having a professional edit is so important. I’m grammatically fairly sound. And we didn’t make any big changes to the story. If I’d self-published it when I thought it was ready, it wouldn’t have been an embarrassment. But nobody can truly edit their own work. I’ve said that to a lot of people, and somehow didn’t realize until this experience that it applies to me, too. A professional editor is trained to find the holes, to shore up the crumbling walls, and separate the stuff a writer thinks is important from the stuff that truly is important. Flamewalker is leaner, stronger, and much tighter than it was two months ago.
So get ready, everyone.
April 24, 2015, Flamewalker releases into the world. It’s a feminist fantasy, and I’ll probably offend a lot of folks by starting with a Goddess instead of a God. I’m cool with that. It has magic and a little romance, a bad guy I hope you’ll love, and tattoos that mean a lot more than just art.
Hope to see you there.