Take your time, make sure you don’t miss anything

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

Author is taking you back to her post twenty-seven weeks after the second day of the new year, when she told you about the “Okay, I need to focus now. Everybody go away!” step of her work. The idea of this step is to go over a clean copy of your draft from beginning to end, section by section, chapter by chapter, to see if there’s anything missing or inconsistent, or anything she might want to change. It’s an important part of the work because it’s the last in-depth review before Author starts looking at the next step of her work on her next book for you, preparing the would-be publication formats.

The “Okay, I need to focus now. Everybody go away!” part of the work tends to take a relatively long time. Author is going over the manuscript in a way she won’t do again before it’s published. She is scrutinizing it, stopping at anything that needs to be revised, no matter how small. Linearly, as she has told you she does at this stage, so that she can also recreate the whole picture in her mind, get a sense of how it feels. She moves section by section—section being a sub-chapter unit—and she doesn’t leave a section until she is satisfied with it. If there are places she makes significant changes to, she makes a mental note of them. At this point she wants to work forward uninterrupted, and this mental tagging of where she has made most of the changes will make her give them more attention later (she will explain “later” in another post, at this point she is still mulling it over in her mind. Once again, what she is considering doing will be straying from how she usually does things).

In this stage of the work, a focused in-depth review of your manuscript, you need to take your time. If something doesn’t feel right – a description, a name, what a character is saying—change it now.  The writing part of your work is over, and what you’re doing now is making sure that your story is in fact what you want it to be for your reader. Short in time? It doesn’t matter. You need to do this in-depth review. In the next steps on the path that takes your book to publication you’ll be busy with other tasks, from finding typos to preparing the page layout for the print format or making sure the reading flow is comfortable for the ebook format. There will be a thousand and one little details you’ll be busy noticing as you go over page after page of your soon-to-be-published book. Your mind won’t be giving the content the attention it needs for a proper scrutiny. So use this last chance for this important review. This, now, that’s your last opportunity to make sure the content of your book is the best you can make it.

A word, though. How long the “Okay, I need to focus now. Everybody go away!” step takes depends on you, on the pace of your work, and on the requirements of the story you’ve written. If it seems that for Author this step is slow, that’s true, but it’s not because it’s problematic. On the contrary, it is a focused step that Author finds both effective and engaging, and she is enjoying it. Both because she is finally reading the complete story—it now feels solid, every piece in its place—and because it is, in a way, the half-way mark. From here on the stretch of the road behind her is longer than the road still ahead.

So why is this step slow for Author? Because of the surrounding events. You see, Sister is moving. And moving, as you know, takes time and effort, the kind that tends to disrupt your routine, keeping you busy with countless tasks until everything is finally in its proper place. And since Author has promised to keep you updated, she will also tell you that Sister is moving in with her and their mom. It’s safer this way for them. You know about the Everward family’s Canada Quest, you know they’ve embarked on it because they want a better life. But you also know one of the reasons they’re doing this is because the country they live in is increasingly unsafe. And that part of it is now becoming very worrisome, very fast. And so they hope that by living in one place, together, they can hold on a bit longer until their fight to reach Canada succeeds. Because they believe it will succeed. It has to.

Author and Sister’s tip for you in yet another week filled with scrutiny of words: this part of your work on your book is important. Take it seriously, give it the time it needs, and don’t miss a thing in the heart of it, the content.

Author and Sister

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