It looked like this:
Ann read it in full regalia, with guardians:
Ann then created a spiral bound copy that was easier to work with, and I incorporated her edits and made my own further edits. The new format helped me to look at the text with fresh eyes.
After that stage, I sent it to my agent Howard Morhaim and my editor Victoria Blake at Underland, and she sent back her notes, which took the form of suggested edits and comments in the text, as well as general notes, excerpts from all of which I’m including here (there was more analysis, but I’d rather not make that public now). Howard gave more general comments over the phone. I also felt comfortable now shooting it off to a couple of other first readers.
My first step was to take the line-edits and easily-fixable things mentioned in the comments…and take on board the ones I agreed with, or find a third way; for example, with the note about Sintra above, it turned out a couple of half-scenes embedded in the right places in existing scenes worked better than a full-on new scene with that character.
Then I created a version for further editing that included more major fixes on scenes, as well as scenes lacking that needed to be included. I also created a version that seemed pretty watertight even without further changes and sent that to my agent for foreign sales.
As I began to revise further, I sent individual revised scenes to Ann, and to Tessa Kum, who had had some good insight into Sintra, a character who figured in several revised scenes. I also shot it off to Eddie Duff and Jonathan K. Stephens, Ambergris fans I knew I could trust to help me with chronology issues, and to Dave Larsen who always helps with gun issues. Reader comments came back via email, for example these two:
I then attacked the final changes, sent that version back to Victoria. She sent a few last edits, I made those changes, and then it was time for creating the interior layout, which right now looks like this (with a couple of detail examples; crap–Coulthart should be on there!).
In 2010, probably by around May-June, I will scan in and electronically archive all stages of the creation, development, and editing of Finch, and post the link on this blog. In case it’s of use to anyone in terms of process. I’m not going to be that transparent prior to publication and during the sales cycle because I think it distracts from where the emphasis should be: on the finished novel.