Back on Ooning editing tomorrow, short story mission completePosted: March 25, 2013
I was supposed to go back into Ooning editing on March 12, but I decided to leave it the full, King-recommended six weeks. I’ll start again tomorrow. You just know, I think, whether or not you’re ready to move onto a new draft, and I definitely wasn’t. I’m glad I waited. I’ve put three short stories in the can since I last looked at The Ooning, and I feel refreshed and excited at getting started again. I was still tired two weeks ago.
The stories I wrote in the break were Chicken, which I published here, The Thaw and Mouse. The View From Here has already rejected The Thaw, so it’s gone elsewhere. I submitted Mouse to another magazine this morning. Fingers crossed.
The Ooning is far from complete. It’s too short and I need to plug some serious holes in the structure (I think: I won’t know exactly what needs doing until I start reading it tomorrow). I’m hoping it’s going to pan out something like this:
- Draft 3: This next edit should complete the book’s skeleton and roughly nail the content. This is going to be a bunch of work. There’s still a fair amount of copy to write here.
- Draft 4: After that, I’ll do a copy edit to clean up any especially rough parts in preparation for beta testing. I don’t envisage this being particularly time-consuming.
- Beta reading: I have friends and acquaintances who’ve said they’ll read it at this stage. I’m a lucky man: they’re all professional writers.
- Draft 5: At this point I’ll consume feedback from the beta and make any necessary changes. By the end of this edit the book should be complete in terms of content and structure before querying.
- Draft 6: A deep copy edit. This is the “voice” edit, the point of which is to make the language sparkle (or whatever it’s supposed to do) and prepare the manuscript for agents. If the “darkest hour before the dawn” maxim has any truth in writing (any writing, not just novels), it’s here. I won’t do another run-through after this unless there’s some interest.
There’s a way to go, obviously. I have no idea if the process above is “right” as this will be the first book I’ve taken to true completion, but it seems a solid enough plan. I doubt I’ll pay to have it edited by a freelancer, but never say never. I’m sure the beta will tell me if something’s seriously wrong.
I can now see the end of the project and I’m already looking forward. I did do some structural work on the next book in this gap, but quickly lost interest and just started writing other stuff. I’m in something of a quandary over where to go next once The Ooning’s complete. The book I have specced is certainly there, but there’s going to be some soul-searching before I make the final commitment to move ahead. I have faith in it as a concept, but there’s another idea I find more exciting right now. I won’t know until I know, I suppose. One thing’s for sure: everything I’m learning with The Ooning, all the planning and structural work, will benefit the next book. I can’t see how it could possibly be as painful again in terms of process.
Before that, though, I have a novel to finish. And that, in itself, is a beautiful thing.