Monday, July 7, 2008

Editing Book 3

The rough draft of Wind of the Spirit is finally finished! I’d celebrate if there weren’t so much left to do to turn this project into a physical book. When I hold that puppy in my hot little hands, I’ll really celebrate.

This has been a long time coming. It’s been a winding trail that led around many roadblocks and sidetracks. But as I always say, God has a plan, and that plan is going to be accomplished, no doubt about it!

To read the first couple of unedited chapters, go to my Web site and click on the link in the box about WOTS. I’ll put up the edited chapters as soon as we have a final version.

In the meantime I’m starting the next step—making my own editing pass before it goes to my editor. I know this sounds pretty much like cleaning your house before the housecleaning service arrives. But being an editor myself I like to turn in a clean manuscript. Even more important, I want to make sure I’m satisfied with my character and plot development, have smoothed out the language, and caught any factual or continuity errors. If I do a good job, it makes for less work when I receive the final edits.

I started a few days ago and so far have gotten through Chapter 5. Sigh. Obviously this is going to take a while. The trouble is, I’m constantly bombarded with Sheaf House and personal business as well as the need to do promotion for my latest release, One Holy Night. With this book I have a total of 101,500 + words to work through, which is long enough, but not really all that long as far as historicals are concerned. But then, my friend Lori Benton and I love those BFHs (big fat historicals). She’s writing a really BIG one!

I was hoping I could get WOTS to the editor by June 1. Well, I’ll be lucky to get it to her by July 1, which is cutting things close with her schedule as well as mine. It could be worse, though. Book 1, Daughter of Liberty, was over 139,000 words when I started, and it ended up at a bit over 127,500. Thankfully I don’t anticipate cutting much out of this one. Native Son was just a bit over 101,000 words too, which will make these two books the same length.

Of course, WOTS started out life as the last third of NS that got cut off because of the publisher’s word count restrictions. Too bad I didn’t find out about that until I’d turned in the manuscript! It was a bit of a shock to find out they’d decided all their novels had to be kept to 90,000 words. Yikes! I managed to wring a concession out of them that NS, being a historical, could be around 100,000. And after much agonizing, instead of gutting my story by cutting out all the secondary characters and plotlines and a considerable amount of the main storyline, I decided to lop off the last third of the book, write a new ending for NS and a new beginning for WOTS, and then flesh out what I had left.

All in all, I think that decision turned out quite well, especially since that publisher ended up canceling the series anyway. I would sure have been upset if I’d ripped NS to pieces for no good reason. Since I didn’t compromise the story, in this volume I’ve been able to give a fuller account of Carleton’s life among the Shawnee, Elizabeth’s relationship with Vander Groot and her involvement in the Battle of Brooklyn, and hers and Andrews’s journey into Ohio Territory to find White Eagle.

I originally intended to include the Battle of Trenton in this book, but with a major battle at the beginning and time running out on my deadline, I decided to end with the lead-up to Trenton. That should make for an exciting beginning to book 4, Crucible of War. The only caveat is if I keep this up, I may end up having to add another book to the series. And since everyone who’s following along knows they’re going to have to wait until the very end for the resolution of Elizabeth and Carleton’s relationship, that’s something nobody wants to happen—especially me since I’m the one who has to write the durned thing! LOL! I seem to be making a career of the American Revoluton. Happily it’s a crucial and fascinating era that is easily holding my interest.

Enough for now. I’m going to dive back into Chapter 6 this evening and see how far I can get. So far I’m quite pleased with how the story developed. I think this is going to be a truly exciting installment!

In upcoming posts I'll include some short excerpts from the text to whet your appetite. But in the next post I’m going to talk about something really exciting—the cover! How in the world do you illustrate Wind of the Spirit????

Stay tuned for some hints . . .

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