Monday, February 21, 2011


Me, reading from "Shadow of the Lion" at the wrap party.

These days, aside from some travel writing for and working on some of the travel stories that I have back-logged in my files while I spent time on Shadow of the Lion,  I have begun the final edits for the novel.

I try to do a few chapters a day, red pencilling in corrections and making notations for changes or omits.
Yesterday I spent 3 hours with my critique reader going over some of the parts she has been reading for me.  She was enthusiastic about the story, amazed at the research and the character development.  And was impressed with the way I've built the tension throughout, which was good to know because in such a long saga it's hard to tell if you've done this or not.

She says she is enjoying the story so much it's hard for her to choose what I should cut.  But I know the novel needs lots of cutting so I guess that means the 'editor' (me) will have to be a bit brutal.  For now, though I'm just noting the places that probably can be eliminated.  After all the red pencilling is done, I'll start working from hard copy to computer again and set up a new file for the more polished version.

It's a bit strange being the 'editor' now, instead of the writer.  I have to admit I miss my characters and wish they were still running around in my head, but I can't let them interfere with the technical work so I've had to put them out of mind.  I think that taking a week or two break before starting the editing was helpful, as I am now more distanced from the story and can be more objective.

Today I spent several hours with an actor friend who is going over the first act script of my play about Sappho, "House of the Muses".  She has been reading and critiquing it and gave me loads of helpful hints for improving it.  Looking at the play script is different from the novel and what she has pointed out is important for me to know.  She also suggested perhaps I should take another playwright's course to workshop the script which I think would be an excellent idea. 

However, one thing at a time.  I must not get sidetracked from the work on Shadow so I am not intending to work on the play until later.  When I took the workshop at the playwright's centre a couple of years ago I didn't get any of this valuable feedback and that's why I got discouraged with it, even though I knew it was a good idea.  Now at least I know where I can begin and what to do to make it better.  That in itself is pretty exciting.

So, for now, the busy bee editor has lots to do with her novel manuscript.  But sometime before too long the writer will go back to work on new projects.  I'm quite excited about those prospects!

Oh yes, take a look at my website and you'll see a page about Shadow of the Lion.  I still have another couple of pages to add later on -- one for plays and one for travel.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011


My writing space

This week I have started the final editing on my manuscript of "Shadow of the Lion".  I bought a very useful book "Manuscript Makeover" by Elizabeth Lyon and recommend it to anyone who is planning to edit their novel or short story manuscript in preparation to send it off to a publisher.  Besides that, I've had someone doing a thorough reader's critique and making notes where I need to change or cut.  So far the job is going quickly. Today I already finished red pencilling Part One with very few corrections or necessary adjustments or tweaks.  It's amazing how 'polished' it was and that is because I did block editing and workshopped each 'scene' as I was writing it.

It's also interesting to go back and read 'fresh' what I had written so long ago.  Amazing, really, as some of it seems as if it came from someone else. I can't remember where I got those words or when I put them down so astutely!  I'm sure, though, that as I go through it I'll find the parts that are not so smooth and those will likely be what gets cut.  Because I do have a lot of cutting to do in order to keep the manuscript to a workable and publishable length.

I have a good team lined up - my critique reader and a professional editor and someone else who offered to do proof reading.  So that's a good start.  And already I've had a little 'bite' about it although I am not going to start the big pitch to agents just yet.  I could though, as the first 3 chapters are pretty polished.  But I still have to set it up in a new file on my computer and make sure it looks as professional as possible. And that will come next.

Pretty soon I'm going to set up a special blog for the novel where I can add links to interesting facts about Alexander and the history that I have written about in the book.  I also have an "Introduction to Shadow of the Lion" group on Facebook, so if you're a Facebooker, take a look at that!

Meanwhile, stay tuned for the next reports.  These are a different type of 'progress report' that I was blogging about before when I was still writing.  Now you'll be hearing from the Editor's Desk!

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