Monday, 17 May 2010

The End is Nigh

I am so excited! Over the weekend I finished the main bulk of redrafting. Hooray! I’ve already explained my revision process in an earlier post, so those of you familiar will know that it has really been an epic learning-curve for me.

The first thing I did was attempt to print out the whole thing on my clunky breezeblock of a printer. Of course it ran out of black ink halfway through, and I didn’t have a new cartridge, so printing was delayed as I got on a bus to dash to nearest town for supplies. Dash probably isn’t the right objective when placed alongside the word ‘bus’, come to think of it. ‘Rumbled slowly with much deliberation’ is a better description. But once I was home again printing resumed, apart from the inevitable pause for the printer to take full advantage of the spotlight like a hammy actor - ‘agh I’m choking, I’m going to die, take this paper out of my throat agh agh’.

Eventually, despite the drama, my manuscript was printed. I beamed at it in delight. Shiny, thick, real... heavy! I am going to have to plant some trees to atone for this one day. This is the first time I have seen the whole thing printed out since I finished the first draft of the story back in March 2008. Yes I know – March 2008! My revision period has been long, but I felt I had a lot to learn to improve. I also have The Fear (of course – the fear of failure, of it being crap, of rejection – I think every writer has this. But we have to conquer it!)

So now I’m in the last stages of redrafting. Woohoo! Yesterday I took myself to a different part of the house, and settled down for the Grand Read-Through.

As you can see, the grand read-through needs some sustenance! You can also see the list I make as I read, headed Anomalies. Underneath it is another page I am compiling of acknowledgements – my story references a few quotes that need full citation. As I read through I am also editing anything that leaps to the eye – a comma here, a word change there – nothing major so far, I am pleased to report. The rigorous redrafting has helped so much – I can’t begin to describe how much the story has improved.

There are still things to do in this last stage – mainly sort out the anomalies! I am also going to create an audio file of the whole thing. I hate listening to myself but it will be fab to hear the rhythm of the words. After that any further changes will be updated, but then it will be ready to go. By the end of this stage I will have got this story as perfect as I possibly can – for now my talent goes no further. I feel I am holding the manuscript high above my head and it will need a professional agent higher than me to take it and swing it further. Can’t wait for that day! Until then I have my two furry writing coaches...

You aren't still reading, are you?

Don't mind us. We'll just sit here waiting.

Your first novel? Impressive. Now shush while I clean my backside.


Old Kitty said...

yay!!! Well done you!!!!

How exciting and it does look heavy and bulky and like a proper MS all ready to be nipped and tucked and be presented to the wider world!

I am so excited for you!! Your furry friends are such good helpers too!


And good luck with creating an audio version of your story!

Take care

JustineDell said...

Good luck on the finals edits! Hope those kittehs are more help than just being paper weights. ;-)


Crystal Cook said...

Congrats!!! That's so awesome :) Oh, happy day!

Alexandra Shostak said...

Go you! Haha, my printer would have looked at that big stack of paper and just gone, "no freaking way."

I read your blog entry about how you revise, too. Holy tons of work! Your manuscript is probably so shiny right now, Louis XIV would use it as one of his mirrors in the hall of mirrors at Versailles. (ok that was pretty bad, but you get the idea.)

Lydia Kang said...

I'm in your shoes! I'm nearly done and will be printing out the mean work of art...soon.

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

How exciting to see the novel in binder form -- it's so thick! You must be tired from doing the happy dance :)) I'm inspired.

Congrats on the progress. And thanks for ending your post with your adorable kitties. The last pic was perfect!

Emily Ann Benedict said...

Wow, that is a lot of paper! :) It tends not to be easy to listen to your own voice, but listening to it outloud is an often recommended way of revising.
Good luck! :)

Joanne said...

It looks as though you're doing a thorough job, best wishes on this final round. It's an exciting place to be. Oh, and I have one of those kitty coaches, too. Her input is always good for a smile as she swats at the moving cursor on the screen ... just priceless.

mise said...

Determination, work ethic and enthusiasm. I'm sure your writing matches up to these estimable qualities of yours and we'll soon be offhandedly telling people, "oh yes, I've known her for AGES."

Fran said...

Trust a cat to bring things down to earth! Good luck with all the editing. Not far to go now!

Giles said...

Printing? I've thought of that, but I get too distracted if I can't make changes then and there when I catch them. Maybe I should try it, though, so I'll do a better job editing.

Congrats on your progress! It's definitely tough to make it this far.

Christine said...

Good luck with the next stage. Hope you rewarded yourself with an extra Twirl.

The last cat photo had me in tucks!

Barbara Scully said...

Oh well done on getting so far Jayne... and aren't cats the most useless decorations in the world. I have one that does exactly what yours do when my girls are trying to do homework! Good luck with it all!

Ev said...

Great believer in the printing out for final draft. It's absolutely amazing what you spot when it is print on paper as opposed to a screen. Go you! Well done - your task is almost complete, then its over to to the lap of the Gods

Donna Hosie said...

Well done, Jayne.

Love the fact you have Twirl bars to sustain you through the editing!

Laura Marcella said...

Congratulations! This is so exciting. Your kitties are adorable! Good luck with your edits!

Paul C said...

The manuscript proof looks so familiar. I like this stage because the real creative component has already been invested. Enjoy seeing your doting cats.

KarenG said...

Congratulations to you and your printer! I love your writing style and your voice. I so want to read your work. Let me know if you need a critique buddy!

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm still laughing at the dashing on the bus part. :D

Your kitties look noteably impressed with you ms.

sarahjayne smythe said...

Congrats on coming so far and good luck with the audio version. :)

Aubrie said...

That's so exciting! Good luck and keep us posted :)

Priya Parmar said...

congratulations! i am so impressed you do it on paper! i just endlessly zoom back and forth on the computer--much less effective!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Woo-hoo! That's fantastic news. Your kitties are gorgeous. I have one just like your orange cat. :-)

Linda said...


Well done you for sticking with it. I know at times you've doubted that you would ever reach the end but now you can see the light at the end of the tunnel and its not an on-coming train.

Get the bubbly in the fridge for the end of the final push.

Talli Roland said...

YAY! That's awesome - even if the kitties are somewhat blasé! It's a massive accomplishment; I do hope you did some celebrating!

Good luck with the edits. I find wine always helps.

The Alliterative Allomorph said...

hahaha! It took me four years to complete my first novel. Don't sweat it ;)

Kittie Howard said...

Wow! Congrats on a major milestone! It's inspiring how you met the project head-on, didn't waiver (love the bus story) and kept to your objectives!! I am sooo happy for you...and sense that the final edit will be hum-drum minor stuff that will really bore your kitties! Celebrate, girl!

Wendy aka Quillfeather said...


Well done, you! Exciting times. There's nothing quite like seeing your hard work bundled up in crisp white paper.

You'll be on the query trail before you know it :)

Shannon said...

Congratulations! Best of luck with the revisions!

And your cats are too cute!

Rose said...

wow that really is so exciting! I can't wait to finally read your story

Jayne said...

Hello Old Kitty! Thank you – it does look like a proper one, doesn’t it?! The furry friends are very good helpers... when they don’t decide the keyboard makes a desirable boudoir.


Hi Justine. Thank you! Haha – they are very good at being furry paperweights.


Thank you Crystal!


Hello Alexandra. My printer sort of said ‘no freaking way’ as well. Love your analogy! It was it were that shiny though... there appear to be a few smudges. Louis XIV would not stand for it!


Hi Lydia. Oh good – well done you! Work of art most definitely. :)

Jayne said...

Thank you Nicole! It is exciting to see the m/s like that – amazing to see all those pages together. The happy dance is still sort of continuing (in amongst cleaning litter trays etc. They certainly know how to keep me grounded!)


Hello Emily. One of my friends is a professional voice over artist so I think I will ask her – much nicer listening to her voice than wincing at my own!


Hi Joanne. Thank you – nice to hear you think it is thorough, I am trying my best to make sure it is so. Kitty coaches work wonders!


Ah thanks Mise. I so appreciate that. I am so glad you think I have those qualities and do hope my writing matches up.


Hello Fran. Not far... but still a trod!

Jayne said...

Hi Giles, and welcome! I think printing is a good way to catch things that you may not see on a screen – I know what you mean about the immediacy of correcting errors when sitting at the computer though. And gosh yes, it is tough, isn’t it? Rewarding, but oh what a journey!


Thanks Christine. I may have rewarded myself with an extra Twirl... or four.


Hello Barbara – thank you! And I dunno, the cats can be quite useful in their own sweet way. Where would I be without them sitting on me pinning me down to the computer so I continue writing and don’t disappear towards the biscuit barrel? The ‘claws in the leg’ technique when padding and purring also helps me keep awake. They act as paperweights on my documents (what, you actually need that research?) and meow noisily when they deem I need a break (that coincides with them needing feeding). So it works quite well!


Hi Ev. Thank you – it has been so nice to read it through on paper. I do spot completely different things, you are right.


Thank you Donna. I think I am one of those folk that need chocolate to survive.

Jayne said...

Thank you Laura!


Hello Paul. Oh I agree. I think I always like the stage that is just ahead of me, though!


Hi Karen. Aw thank you, thank you so much. I really appreciate it, and may take you up on that offer!


Hello Stina. Yup, the cats loved the ms, and have given it the royal seal of approval (they sat on it).


Hi Sarahjayne – thank you! The audio version will be interesting! Might ask a pal to do it for me.


Thanks Aubrie!


Hello Priya. Mostly I do it all on the computer. But this is the first real novel I have finished – the others were all test runs. So my style of editing and redrafting is changing all the time. I do like printing it out twice – once after writing the full thing, once when all the major redrafting is done. I love seeing how the redrafting has improved the story!

Jayne said...

Hi Shannon. Thank you, and for the kitty compliments! I am completely soppy over my cats.


Hello Linda. Thank you! Interesting choice of words... if you ever read the book you’ll know what I mean. :) And I hope you do get to read it someday!


Hi Talli. Thank you! I think I have celebrated a lot through this already (hooray I wrote a paragraph! Glug.) But yes, when it is all done and dusted as much as I can, then I will definitely raise a glass to celebrate!


Hello Alliterative Allomorph, and welcome! Thank you for sharing that – yes, the more I have continued along this path the more I realise that it usually is a long one for all on the same journey. Gosh I sound spiritual today! Must have been the recent trip to Stonehenge. :)

Jayne said...

Hi Kittie. Thank you so much! It’s getting there – I do hope the final edit will be hum-drum, but have come across some puzzlers already – not biggies, but still lots of niggles that need ironing out. But it feels good to be at this stage!


Hello Wendy! (Bows with a blush to the applause.) The query trail is looming - the sign is definitely ahead of me. At the moment I am looking forward to querying though – it will mean I am totally happy with the ms – and no matter what happens that is a nice place to be.


Hello Shannon – thank you! The cats are cute aren’t they (said proudly, as if I had something to do with it!)


Hi Rose – I feel excited! In fact when I printed it out that night I actually couldn’t sleep as my mind was so animated with all the possibilities. Hopefully you will read it some day!

Mohamed Mughal said...

Love your writing coaches! Very handsome :)

Jayne said...

Hello Mohamed, and thank you! I shall tell them you said so. :)