Thirty-eight weeks after the second day of the new year
Even while the “Okay, I need to focus now. Everybody Go away!” step of Author’s work on her next book for you was still in progress, she has hinted that she is considering what her next step in her work on it should be. And now that this in-depth review is done, that she can scrutinize it in hindsight, she knows what she wants to do next.
You see, Author is satisfied with the work she did in that the manuscript is complete. But she feels that one objective of the review has not been achieved, at least not in the way she wanted it to be. As she has told you in her post last week, it was indeed as thorough a review as she had planned it to be, and she has made additions, some of them quite significant, some sent her back to research and thought. But this step was also meant to include an encompassing, clean read of the manuscript, and even as it was still in progress Author knew this part of it was lacking because of the way the review ended up being done: not as uninterrupted days in which she could work undisturbed, but with multiple starts and stops and a focus on small parts of the manuscript rather than on the whole. You know this, of course, because Author has shared with you her work process, unexpected occurrences included.
Normally, the last in-depth review would be followed by the more technical final steps before publication, that is the preparation of the formats and the reading layouts within them. But not this time. Here Author has decided that the best thing for the book would be to once again deviate from her original work process, and run a quick read of the manuscript. To check the flow of the story, see the final complete picture of it in her mind. She needs to do this because she feels that while she has in fact done the thorough work that involves evaluating the manuscript on all its parts and ensuring that it is complete, she hasn’t done the kind of read that would bring her to that “Yes, that’s it” place she has told you about four weeks after the second day of the new year, the feeling that the story is exactly what she wants it to be. To get there she needs to run an uninterrupted read, have a look at the manuscript all at once as a whole, like a landscape stretching before her that she can walk through without needing to stop, on the way ensuring that all elements she encounters are clear and clearly placed. And that’s what the flow read she is planning will do.
Of course, the question is how to best do this read. Simply in the word file—as the clean, unmarked document it is now? Or as a for-preview ebook? In a preliminary print book format in Indesign perhaps? Good question. Author will have a look at the three formats and choose what’s most comfortable for her purpose. One thing she realizes she can’t do is, of course, read the book as a reader would, a reader who sees it for the first time, for whom the story unfolds one intrigue after another. There is a limit to the kind of distance Author can take from her own work. As its writer she simply sees too much, she sees everything that is encompassed in this story beginning with her first thoughts about it, through every change she has ever made in it, to how it connects to the story preceding it and what she expects from the stories following it in the next books in the series.
And this is where Author and Sister’s tip for you this week comes in: you don’t have to do this, run such a read, if you feel that your in-depth review was enough. That you have all you have written clearly laid out in your mind, that all its pieces are seamlessly interconnected the way you want them to be, that there are no gaping holes, no mismatched edges. Just remember that you need to be sure that the content of your manuscript is ready before you can move on to the preparation of your chosen publication formats. If you’re not there, if you don’t have the “Yes, that’s it” feeling, run another read. Or two. Or as many as you need. Retract your steps and run another review, if needed. No compromising here, never forget that nothing is more important than the quality of your work.