So here’s a photo of what I looked like after months and months of working on Finch, my new novel, and not leaving the house that much. Or shaving. Along with some of the books that I consulted while working on the novel (to greater and lesser extents). Compare/contrast that with how I looked at the beginning of the year:
Now let’s put it all together.
(1) Near the beginning, it looked like this, as it began to coalesce into some kind of orderly progression:
(2) About 1/3 of the way in, the novel looked mostly like this:
…although some of it looked like this:
(3) About 2/3 finished, the novel was mostly printed pages with dividers showing the general actions occurring on a particular day to make sure I hadn’t left any gaps in the narrative (the novel takes place over a week and is sectioned off accordingly), as well as tons of post-it notes reflecting ideas that had come to me during the writing process and hadn’t yet been assimilated into the main text:
(4) After making sure the novel had gone through a few revisions, I printed it out double-sided in a plain binder:
(5) Then I gave the novel to my wife Ann, who is my first reader, and she read it with appropriate pomp and circumstance, which looked like this:
After she read it, we went to a local pub and went over all of her marks on the manuscript. In addition, we talked about general plot points and about the characters. I asked her about a thousand questions, things like “Did X’s hatred of Y seem to strong?” or “Was it clear why Z did ______?” or “How was the pacing on that scene? I wanted it to open slow and then close suddenly like a trap.”
(6) Based on Ann’s comments and my own thoughts since I last saw the draft, I then made additional edits (for example, cutting extraneous description, adding better specific details, and rewriting entire scenes):
After making those changes, I sent an electronic copy to my editor, Victoria Blake, at Underland Press, with a cc to my agent, Howard Morhaim. It is out of my hands now. When I have Victoria’s comments and edits, I will do another run-through, which will either be a heavy or light revision depending on how close to the vision in my head the final draft. The novel will be, in essence, complete, except for copy editing and other tightening.