The rewrite on my new book is done. It went off to my publishers this week and, short of them asking for more last-minute rewrites (unlikely at this point) the version that I sent off should be about 90-95% identical to the version you guys will be reading next year.
For those of you who haven’t been closely following the news on this, me telling you that the book’s “done” is probably going to cause a bit of deja vu. If you’re feeling as though you’ve heard this before . . . don’t worry, it’s not just you! I finished the first fully completed draft (the one which I’ve labelled version 4) back in January. Version 5 (a full rewrite that changed a lot of things about the setting and world), was completed in June, and the version that I’ve just finished (the one that incorporates the editorial feedback from my publishers) is version 6. So, depending on how you count it, this makes the third time I’ve “finished” this book.
This whole thing has been a pretty good example of the difference between traditional publishing and serial fiction/web fiction. If I’d been an unknown author putting up my stuff on one of the online story sites like Fictionpress or Royal Road or something, this story would have been published early this year. However, it would have been (a) very different and (b) a lot worse. This book has changed a LOT over the course of its rewrites – the world and magic system, in particular, got completely redesigned in the v5 change. If I’d been publishing the chapters as I wrote them, all sorts of things that I’d casually thrown into the early drafts would have become settled parts of the story, whereas now a lot of those early ideas have either been heavily modified or just flat-out deleted because I realised later on, with reflection, that they just weren’t good choices. The book is also now a lot more consistent and thought-through. There were quite a few characters in the early drafts who were fairly one-note and were only there for a purpose – to be a friend or a source of information or a sounding board. The advantage of doing so many rewrites is that I’ve had the time to develop them all in detail, so that now I have a fairly good idea about who all of the Book 1 characters are and where I’m going with them.
Now that I’m at the end of this road and looking back, I have to admit, it’s been pretty exhausting. Like most authors, I like feeling that a book’s finished. Realising that I had to go back and extensively rewrite the book in the spring was not much fun. Having to go back and rewrite it AGAIN in the autumn was even worse. And this isn’t counting the fact that the book had some fairly extensive editing during its first draft, too – there’s a reason that the version I finished in January is labelled v4 and not v1. At this point, there are sections of the book that have been written over so many times that if I was doing this with a pencil and eraser instead of with a word processor, I’d have rubbed holes in the paper.
Still, at this point, it really is done. Unless something totally bizarre happens, this is the mostly-final version. Which means that I can finally get to work on planning out Book 2!
The fact that I’m done with the rewrites also means that I’m finally at the point where I’m comfortable with revealing some information about the series. So next week, on December 16th, I’m going to do a major update to the “New Series” page with a lot of material about the new book and the series that it’ll be a part of. Check back then for more!