Today, I “finished” the manuscript for which this blog is titled. I am sending it to a retired newspaper copy editor for the purpose of finding all punctuation/spelling/spellcheck/trackchange errors.
It’s like running a marathon
92,290 words. that’s the final count. I think I may have banged out 400,000 words, then edited out 308,000 to get to the remaining ones worth keeping.
seventeen months. okay, I did not write for three months while I was in Nepal. But I was researching the context, every day while there.
Innumerable revisions. twenty-four “beta readers.” Did the way it was interpreted by the test-readers imply that what I meant to say was what actually conveyed on the page? was it believable?
writing a love story. not to be underestimated. passion, los of innocence, betrayal, joy, fulfillment, jealousy, despair. all this and more.
Dozens of methodical pass-throughs for “craft” – eliminating passive sentences and the like.
find every “-ing” word. find split infinitives. kill your darlings. write a synopsis and use it to analyze propulsion of the story arc.
solve POV problems.
travel back and forth through space and time.
Apply Checkov’s Rule.
Apply Elmore Leonard’s rules.
character-by-character, find three-dimensional challenges for them.
trips to FedEx to get a hardcopy for purposes of keeping track.
hundreds of cups of Starbucks coffee. black. no room needed. Now I have a Gold Card.
Research part one. all kinds of odd things – the battle of Beni during the civil war of Nepal; slogans and songs used by Maoists. Nepali culture including courtship and wedding customs; Buddhism, along with spiritual practices of “Vajrayanic” Buddhists; and the deepest recesses of the human heart. Buddhist epigrams.
Research part two. medical stuff, such as “what is a Finochietto?” and the truth behind some of the things I was told during various events, such as mushroom poisoning and meningococcal meningitis.
a professional editor. who made two complete pass-throughs and helped ensure that the thing had a purpose and direction.
The final product?
The final product ought to give the reader a glimpse into the mind of people they would not be able to interact with otherwise. In a place they are unlikely ever to visit. during events that I pray they will never personally experience.
Where to go from here
From here, my plan is to find the widest audience possible, and that means trying to find an agent and a publisher. I will begin sending out agent queries December 10th.