Revision for Ciphers to Neverland continues, unfortunately not without some setbacks. My vacation through Germany and portions of Eastern Europe was fantastic, I’ll post about it one of these days. I met some wonderful people and saw magnificent vistas and places. Once I returned back to the States, I received my final packet back from my copy editor for the second-half of the novel. Before my vacation, I only got through the first chapter in revisions.
I’ve revised the novel at least twice, almost three times for some parts. The one thing I’ve tried to be mindful about has been my change of voice since I originally wrote the manuscript. Especially since the tone of the chapters are integral and necessary, it’s imperative that their integrity remains consistent within the narrative. As I reviewed the suggestions remarked by my editor, I began noticing new flaws in my prose. Things I overlooked or things I had changed, things that needed to be addressed if I wanted a strong narrative.
When I first wrote the manuscript, I had a basic proficiency in English (let alone American) grammar. I did fine during my undergrad years when writing research analysis and research proposals. But technical writing is a stark contrast to the fluidity and expertise of the language to write a sustainable work of fiction. Between blogging for Dungeons & Dragons content for Death By Mage and working on the novel, my free time virtually became nonexistent. The blogging built confidence in my writing, at least in the message, but I was still terrible with grammar. Even with the many books and authors, I’ve read, my recollection of these language paradigms was laughable. Let’s be frank, I didn’t appreciate grammar, ever. I understood the need for it, especially the Oxford comma – thank you very much – but I never bothered to master it.
Language is a unique interplay of structures (such as syntax and grammar), linguistical evolution (such as word formation), and cultural/societal neologisms. I’m just grateful I can be concise with my prose and still allow my voice to be read as intended.
The first year of revisions was me being overly critical of myself. Hating myself, if we wanted to be honest with ourselves. The strain wore down on my will, especially when I thought I reached a point I was satisfied with the project. From there, the desire to simply drop everything and just move on with my life always tempted me. I promised myself that this was something worthwhile, and my conviction seems to be its own mix of reward and disappointment. Part of the novel has been completed and being read by alpha-readers. Some are friends who are big book nerds, and a few are people who also are working on their own novels.
I’m in that awkward phase where I know my quality of work will be judged and that I shouldn’t let that affect me, but it’s honestly frightening. Posting things on a blog and having people occasionally send you feedback is nothing compared to something that has taken a year to create only to be told it’s terrible.
So you may be wondering about the delays, and what are they?
One of them is me making narrative changes that I had been on the fence about previously and have finally found a way to expand on certain scenes, dialogue, and moments. The other comes from my fatigue and the editorial changes. I’m reading my novel with the suggested edits, correct them as I deem fit, and re-read these sections again. I’ll be fortunate if a 25-page chapter is finished within seven hours. Those are actually good days. The bad ones are when I have to redo an entire conversation along with the setting and scenery, planning those takes at least one to two hours, writing the prose takes anywhere from two to five hours, and reading the changes and giving it my stamp of “Okay, it’s decent” takes at least half an hour to an hour. The shorter a scene, the less time it takes for me to make the adjustments, but in the case of something like a whole chapter, it can take multiple days.
Sadly, caffeine does little to me anymore. I might as well be the patron saint of coffees and teas. Unfortunately, this is the time of the year when the summer heat in Florida makes me sleepy and drowsy.
Setting deadlines are important, I found. But there should always be additional dates put aside in the event of emergencies or unforeseen circumstances. So while my original and personal deadline to have the manuscript thoroughly revised with edits set at the end of May. Well, it’s the end of May, and were about halfway done. Assessing the situation, I surmise that it will take anywhere from two to three weeks to finish the revisions and receive any feedback from my alpha readers. Once I’ve done that, I have a few resources who were kind enough to submit my work to be placed in front of the eyes of book reviewers. During that time, I hope to finalize the logistics for having the book on Amazon Kindle, Apple iBooks, and more. That process shouldn’t take any longer than a week or a week-and-a-half at most.
To my fans, friends, and supporters: I know I’m behind. I’m sorry, but hopefully, I will have something worth all that wait and patience. I’m just grateful that people have such faith in my creativity, that alone is enough motivation to keep grinding along. Oh, I still need to learn how to format an ebook. More sleepless nights.
Cheers and may your coffee taste delicious.