I’ve just completed the final edits on the first draft of my second novel. With pleasure filling the back of my throat, and yet tears filling my eyes, I wrote the two words that every writer either looks forward to or dreads. I wrote, “The End.”
For this particular manuscript, it was a sprint to the finish. My process is generally to edit a section (maybe 50 pages) on screen, then print the section for hand edits. I place those 50 or so pages in a folder, then trot them off to my nearest coffee shop. I’m ruthless when editing, but I don’t feel quite so mean to myself if I’m sipping a nice latte or some otherwise caffeine-loaded concoction. I then incorporate the first edits on screen, print out the section again, and give it to my husband for his eagle-eyed scrutiny. He’s the Comma King. Once again, I incorporate his edits (provided I agree with him, of course), and print it out once more for a final look-through.
This process takes time and lots and lots of paper. For this first draft work, I ended with a twelve-inch high stack of marked-up paper. It’s all worth it. I get plenty of face-time with my manuscript … and quite a few lovely lattes in the bargain.
Now, it’s back to the computer to compose the all-important cover letter. Wish me luck as I prepare to send out requested material to some very nice agents I met at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association conference.