I have a new date for my book’s release: January 2018. Whilst this means I must wait another four months’ to see my book on the shelves, it also means that I have more time to complete these final edits and get my novel into tip-top shape.
Once this book is published, that’s it—I won’t be able to change it. It will be out there forever and it will outlive me. I want it to be something I’m really proud of, so even though it means postponing its release, I’d rather spend this extra time getting it right than putting it out there with a few things not quite finished off.
I’m also a tad obsessional and never do things by halves but that, of course, has nothing to do with it. (Dear husband, you’re not allowed to comment.)
It feels as if I’ve been editing this damn book forever, but I think I’m nearly there. Most of the book is how I want it, just a few things towards the end that need tidying up. It’s not so much what happens—I like all my plot points—it’s more making sure they flow easily and make sense to the reader. It’s fine-tuning, tweaking little by little, and it takes time.
As a writer, one of the things you hear is that big publishers don’t pay enough attention to editing and the quality of books is suffering. I have no idea what other publishers are like, but my experience with Allen and Unwin has been the exact opposite. My publisher wrote this to me in an email the other day:
‘What I really want to reinforce is that the most important thing to us is that we give you time to write the best book possible. I don’t want to rush you or indeed us in our responses to your revisions.’
It made my day! I’d been feeling pressured by the deadline, that I should send my book back by the due date even if I wasn’t completely happy with it. It was a relief to read that they want what I want—the best possible book—and they’re willing to give me extra time to do that. It’s all about the story and getting it right even if it takes longer.
So I’ll have to wait another four months to see my book on a shelf, but that’s nothing. I’ve already been working on it for 5 1/2 years, so I can wait an extra four months.
Writing a novel is hard work and takes a long time. When I first started, I didn’t realise how hard it would be or how long it would take. I’ve made loads of mistakes but I’ve learnt so much for next time. Now I can’t wait to get stuck into ‘next time’.
I’d booked a few nights at Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers’ Centre for some distraction-free writing time. I’ve been here for a few days now, making solid progress on the last part of the manuscript and also enjoying the beautiful bush surrounds.
For the first time in ages, I felt like taking my camera out. Here are a few pics:
By the way, now that my tight deadline has gone, Writers in the Attic will be back as usual tomorrow. A reminder, too, that if you’d like to contribute to that, please send me 600-1000 words on your writing life or what writing means to you or, indeed, anything at all related to writing!