Kallanash update: final edits done

Posted July 6, 2014 by PaulineMRoss in The Plains of Kallanash, Writing musings / 12 Comments

I’ve spent the last few weeks feverishly revising ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ in light of the comments received from my beta readers. And when I say ‘feverishly’, sometimes it almost felt as if I were literally feverish – I’d go to bed thinking about edits, I’d wake up thinking about them, and sometimes I even dreamt about them. It was hard work, and a great deal of it was spent, not pecking away at the keyboard, but just mulling over ideas. Not much else got done, although I’ve found that mindless occupations like ironing or gardening are excellent pondering opportunities.

After the pondering and the final rewriting, I read through the whole book one final time to tighten up excessive wordiness, and looking out for last minute gotchas resulting from the revisions. No use removing that unwanted chunk of text if a different part of the book refers to the missing event. And I found one place where a character had changed gender in the revisions, yet I still had a scene referring to ‘her’ as ‘him’. Oops.

So now it’s finished and the manuscript is off to my proofreader for a final polish. This is the most expensive part of my publication costs by quite a margin, but it’s one part that, to my mind, is non-negotiable (along with a professionally-designed cover). I’m reasonably comfortable with my grammar and spelling, but punctuation – not so much. It’s not that I can’t punctuate correctly, but I need someone to keep my ellipses and dashes in order.

Am I happy with it? Of course not. Is any writer ever totally happy with their work? And I still have this nagging suspicion at the back of my mind that I’ll publish it in September and the world will fall over laughing at how bad it is. In reality, of course, the world will continue on its merry way, quite oblivious to my book, and after an initial spurt of sales fuelled by friends and relations, the thing will languish at some telephone-number ranking on Amazon, never to be seen again.

Well, that’s OK. At least it will be out there. And there comes a point with any book where you just have to say: enough! Let’s call it done. There are people who polish and tinker and whittle away for years, decades, sometimes. I don’t have the patience for that. So I’m calling ‘The Plains of Kallanash’ done, bar the proofreading edits. Come September, it goes out the door, and that’s the end of it.

And so, on to the next one…


12 responses to “Kallanash update: final edits done

  1. Congrats!

    You know I think the older draft was solid up to a certain part, and I’m eager to see what you did with that. And yeah, editing is an almost plagued-feeling state. It’s always there in your head. Be glad you haven’t been editing the book for years or decades, because sometimes I can barely differentiate between what’s in the text and what I cut eight years ago!

  2. Huge congrats! Getting things off to the proofreader is such a ginormous achievement. I spent 10 years tinkering with Thorn (partly because I couldn’t find an agent and e-books were not yet the thing, but also partly because tinkering is a natural profession of mine). I was so, SO glad to get that thing off to the proofreader! I’ve done much better keeping things in line since. 🙂 Just don’t give in to the temptation to adjust anything once you get it back…

    Looking forward to your release day!

  3. Great news!

    Wise choice to decide to stop; I think the artist’s prayer goes something like, “Let me finish this before I f*ck it up.” At some point, the thing just isn’t getting any better.

    • Yes, absolutely. And then it’s time to draw a line under it, good, bad or indifferent. Thanks for the shout-out on Westeros, by the way – wondered why I got a little burst of visitors to the blog. 🙂

  4. Zero


    So sorry I never found the time to finish reading it! I’m ashamed. (if it’s any consolation, I enjoyed what I got through and I didn’t have time to finish reading any other books either). I plan to be one of your first customers!

    No writer is every truly satisfied in my opinion, but it’s wise to cut the umbilical at some point and ship it. Your progress is pretty prodigious compared to most anecdotes I’ve heard from other writers. Many first novels are in development hell for seemingly longer than they are available in print.

    Best of luck in everything you do.

    • Thanks, and it’s no problem. Sometimes real life defeats our good intentions. I’m glad you enjoyed what you read, anyway! I know there are some writers who tinker for years, but I’m not aiming for an unattaunable level of perfection, just trying to put out something that some people will find enjoyable. No book ever works for everyone. Thanks for your good wishes.

  5. Congratulations! I saw that you had the cover up so I hopped over here to see what was going on. Let me know when release day comes along.

    • Thanks! I should get it back from the proofreader by the end of the month, so then I’ll almost be ready to go. Still planning on a September date (I don’t think August is a great month for book releases!). I’m going to have my own little launch party – with champagne and a cake and everything. 🙂

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