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After a creaking start, it feels like we're rattling through the year and now (somehow) it's March! 

I managed to finish my page proofs last week (thanks to some late nights and early mornings) and have written up the changes in a Word document as the publisher asked for that. With the last three, I sent the hard copies back which was a lot quicker!

Now I'm waiting for the queries from the proofreader, which I'll need to address, and then book four is officially finished! 

I'm 35,000 words through book five so I hope to be hit 40,000 words by mid-March then edit that and send it to my agent and publisher to give me their feedback so far. This is nerve-wracking but I'd rather do it this way round and find out if I'm going a bit awry so I can fix it sooner father than find out at 80,000 that I've gone VERY awry!

So what are you goals for this new month?! 

  • Detail-plot the inner arcs of each of the chapters in the current book - and internal arcs for any with projected lengths over c. 500 words. (Yes, at this stage, I can already determine length.)

    By the time that's done, I'm hoping I have feedback on the larger structure, so can make relevant tweaks.

    After that… I don't know if I can viably hope to get further feedback - at least in any sort of meaningful timeframe - or should just dive into the prose itself. Maybe a handful of big set-piece argument chapters will need beat-level breakdowns first.

    Oh, and, you know, a handful of those super-secret blog posts… 😉

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    • Sounds good! Especially that last bit ;) 

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      • Goal achieved! 🎉 

        112 chapters broken down into internal seven-Act structures, and three sets of very useful feedback (one from here) on the less-detailed outline.

        Now, i need to figure out how to insert the changes that feedback suggests, to the tune of a further 30-50k words. Oh, fun.

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      • I plan to nail down the structure.

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        • Still mulling over lots of ideas and thoughts on what to do next with my ms, 'Army of Me'. 

          After feedback from the Write Mentor competition I know that I need to revisit the opening, the main issue being that it goes too quickly into the inciting incident without letting the reader get to know the MC first. Ironically, this is probably because I responded to criticism of earlier drafts that there was too much scene-setting and it wasn't hooky enough! 

          So I now probably need to come up with a happy medium where we can invest in the MC before throwing her onto the roller-coaster. But I'm also seriously thinking about moving from third to first person POV, so a lot to think about with it.

          In the meantime, I've also got the first draft of the sequel to edit which, depending on the above, may also need to move to first person POV...

          Oh, and if I can solve the conundrum of the opening, I'm aiming to apply for mentoring from Write Mentor and enter the Darley Anderson Children's novel competition (both in April). 

          Well done with the page proofs, Holly, and it's great to get an insight into what being a published author is really like! Do you tend to see many proofing errors when it's that stage?

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          • It’s frustrating entering competitions and never knowing how close you came, so I think WriteMentors feedback and rating is great too.

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            • Terrific title. That alone would draw me to look at the summary if I saw the title on Amazon!

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              • Thanks David! I borrowed it off Bjork - hope she won't mind...

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              • Hi Holly

                Your fifth book!! This may be a stupid question, but once you've been published, does your agent know what you're writing next, and is the deal with the publisher an agreed storyline or style? I am curious to think that you might write something fantastic but the agent or publisher may say it's too like your other work or not enough like it, sorry if you have already answered this one on another thread.

                This month I am taking part in the self edit course and am getting so excited about this. I have almost got my draft ready, just adding some new scenes and making sure everything is good continuity wise (I don't write my scenes in order, just can't do it).

                I have just asked a fellow Jericho Writer to look at my first book which is nerve wracking, but I am sure I'll get some interesting feedback from this. 

                Hope everyone is getting on at a cracking pace with their editing and writing. 

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                • Not a stupid question at all! If you have a contract with a publisher to deliver a certain number of books, you will generally run the idea past your agent and when you're sure it's a good one, you'll share the plan with the publisher. Some publishers will want a really detailed outline, others just a few lines, but it's important to check with them as you could end up writing a whole book only for them to say "this is too similar to another book we have coming out" which does happen! 

                  When you are on submission trying to get published, your agent will submit your completed novel to potential publishers and will often include a very brief 'teaser' for the follow up idea. It shows you have other ideas and the direction you'd like to move in. If you're submitting the first of a series, your agent will probably work with you to create a more in-depth outline of the future books in that series so the publisher can see what they would be committing to/the potential. 

                  Almost always the follow up book changes a lot from that original idea by the time it is finished, but that's normal and their agent and editor are likely to have seen chunks of the work along the way so it's not a shock! 

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                  • Thanks Holly, it's great to have you on here with all this information and help. 

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                    • You're very welcome!

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                    • I know I've said it before but Army of Me is such a great title! 

                      I would recommend writing a sample chapter in first person and seeing how it feels. If it flows really easily and opens up new avenues, you have your answer (and a lot more work to do but worth it if it's the right thing!)

                      Thanks so much, I'm so happy to have this done so I can focus on the work in progress! I'd say I found something small on one in every five pages but rather than errors it was me fussing and tweaking things. I found two actual errors and the proofreader found a handful more (although some I disagreed with 😬 ). By this point it's had several edits from me, and my agent, and an editor and a copyeditor... so it's amazing there are any errors left really! 

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                      • Hi Jane, it's definitely a dilemma for me as I'm the opposite! I always seem to write in third person. Having said that, I tend to use restricted POV so it's only the MC's thoughts, and when I experimented by re-writing the whole of Chapter 1 in first person, it wasn't too much of a stretch to convert third to first. But I doubt whether I could have written it that way if I'd started out from scratch writing in first.

                        Good luck with your writing too!

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                        • I've been thinking of this a lot too. But why choose? I've seen some other approaches also:

                          1. MC ist first person, other characters 3rd person POV, but still their POV.

                          2. Every person who is assigned a POV is in 1st person.

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                          • I agree, If I'm not sure I test out both. In my current book, I've gone for first person because it is all about my main character's beliefs and perceptions. She also confesses to lying a lot and the plot has shifted bit by bit to make more of the unreliable narrator, ie how truthful is she, even when she supposedly isn't lying. I'm loving her to bits!

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                          • March: this week glance through my now finished first draft of my rewrite for any glaring issues and send it off to my mentor. While I wait for the feedback, organise and look back over 'how to' material and work out how to tackle the editing process.

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                            • Struggling to complete my draft, I'm down with the flu. It's going to slow me down.

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                              • Revise, revise and then revise some more. Completed my first 400 page novel 8 years ago, revised it twice at least then. Became discouraged - and busy, busy, busy. (Always a good excuse don't you agree?) and fought myself to pick it up again a few days ago. Now I will not only revise but totally rewrite! Change the plot, firm up the characters, tighten it all up. Use some of the original material (revising that as I go) and when I'm a bit further on consider whether I get an opening section review, go directly to mentoring, or of course initially peer to peer review through the forums. Will I get all this done in March? Well, I'm on page 18 so it's a start...

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                                • I’m still in the planning stage, but I’ve always been there, wondering where to begin. I’ve been blessed, with narcissism it seems. I have a whole lot of ideas for different stories, but tweaking here and there has had its day, I’m ready to go!

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                                  • Just hitting 60,000 words as I pass the central pivot, think I probably need another 35,000 to finish. So, it being the 9th of March, I'll aim to get to 70,000 by the end of the month. 

                                    I want to complete the first draft by the end of May. My debut novel (The Actuality) is being published 2nd of July and this way I can engineer a nice break of a few months while I support that. I'm paranoid of putting this new one side in an incomplete state and not being able to get back into it. You know, all the normal concerns, loss of self-belief etc, etc...

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