Another step done and the mess is no more

Thirty-seven weeks after the second day of the new year

Author is done with the “Okay, I need to focus now. Everybody Go away!” step of her work she has told you about in her post thirty-two weeks after the second day of the new year. During this step, designed to be the last in-depth review of the manuscript, done as a thorough read of a clean version of it with all changes hidden, there were places where Author found herself stopping, changing a detail here and there. In some places she made the decision to stop the review and embark on some more research, and in others she took the time to mull things over a bit in her mind. She did all of this, not skipping anything, not letting anything go.

This was an important part of Author’s work process on the path to the publication of her next book for you. It was solid, thorough work that turned up the kind of issues that Author finds important, that she was looking to uncover if they were there. As she has told you, this part of the work takes time, and it should be given that time. It should not be hurried, and it should not be taken lightly. In this step you work your way through the manuscript, paying attention to each story line, each character, each location, each and all parts of the story. It’s worth it. When you’re done with this in-depth review the story is complete, and all details are firmly lodged in their right place.

Author wants to reiterate that where this step is positioned on the path from thought to publication is important. It is and should be an advanced step. In the earlier stages of your work you’re still busy building the heart of the story, putting essential details in. Your thoughts are deeply immersed in the realm of imagination and your creativity takes precedence. Creation is where your attention is and that is where it should be. In your mind you’re building a world and getting to know the characters in it and what your story will challenge them to go through, and nothing is more important than this, writing your story. Of course, your creativity, your imagination, the world in your mind, they will all be there until the moment your book is published, until your work on it is done. But in the more advance stages other parts of your thought process will kick in, too, and creativity will no longer rule by itself. In the editing and post-editing steps the analytical parts of your mind will have their say. And later, in the very last in-depth review, your mind will be ready to look at what you’ve written critically, evaluating it and ensuring it is in fact completed.

At this point Author wants to take you back to her post seventeen weeks after the second day of the new year, when she had a stage in her work on her next book for you where the manuscript for it, that document on the screen, was marked with additions, deletions and changes, and with her own comments and questions that she still needed to sort out. Since Author usually works with all changes visibly tracked, as you know she ended up with quite a messy document. She then went through the manuscript again, resolving all comments and questions and making the story whole. And she still worked with tracked changes, meaning that every little thing she did in that manuscript was marked—Author doesn’t accept changes, doesn’t clear the document on the screen between steps, because she prefers to see it all, to have before her every change she has made from the moment she began scrutinizing her work. And now that Author is done with an even later step, the in-depth review, you might think that the mess is still there. In fact, you might say, there must be so much more of a mess now, new marks having been added to the previous ones. Another step, more changes tracked, more markings.

But the whole point is that there is no longer a need for Author to see the changes or comments or anything else she has marked on her manuscript. She can hide them or simply hit the accept all changes button—which she will have to do anyway when she formats the document for publication. Now that Author has finished the “Okay, I need to focus now. Everybody Go away!”  step, the last in-depth review, all that matters is the story as it is now. Not what she did in the past steps of her work on it, but only what she has decided will be in the final manuscript. All essential changes have been made, all comments have been addressed. There is no more mess, nor is there need for it anymore. Author is ready for the next step.

Not a tip from Author and Sister this week, but rather a milestone: that moment when you finish the last review of your manuscript, when it feels solid, complete. You’re ready to start thinking about formats and layouts, about how you want your creation to look when it’s out there in an online bookstore or on a shelf. You’ve now reached the last steps in the preparation of your book. The next major milestone is publication.

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