Over the weekend, my publisher sent me the first 70 pages of my upcoming book, The Darkness Between the Stars. I have not seen the manuscript for at least six months, and although I felt some frustration about the delay in being able to work on it again, I realize there was a big advantage to looking at it again, with fresh eyes.
A second to final edit can be difficult. Often, as the writer, I want to make not just small changes, but full rewrites, and I did this, but for only a few pages – I was actually quite happy with the writing and the narrative arc.
Other writers might be interested in my process, at this stage of the book.
First, I read the whole section of the manuscript over, so that I can properly digest my editor’s comments and think about them, without actually changing anything.
Next, I put on my music (This time around I choose Teenage Fanclub – a mix from a variety of their albums). Those who know me and have followed this blog or heard me talk, will already know that I always write to music – rather than distracting me – it somehow frees my creativity. Once I’ve got my music on, I return to the manuscript and start to incorporate/think about/accept/reject my editors’ comments and do a little rewriting. This takes some time, of course.
Then I take a break and do some other work, perhaps go for a walk, read a book – just step away from the work.
Finally, I return to the manuscript and read it through out loud, making any final changes. I often advise my writers at suite101.com to read their work aloud; that way we can actually hear how it sounds. Only after I have completed all of these steps do I email the MS back to my editor – WOW, does that ever feel good!