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…