Time for an in-depth review

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

As Author told you in her post twenty-five weeks after the second day of the new year, she keeps finding herself doing things differently with her next book for you. By now she’s understood that at this still early stage of her experience as a published author it is better to accept that, and not try to plan everything. She’ll see how it’s best for her to implement each step of the preparation of this book, and work accordingly.

This next part of her work is also straying from how she had thought she would do things. You see, Author has now transferred the manuscript into Indesign, which is something you know she does. But this time around it’s not like with her first books. With both The First and Oracle’s Hunt Author worked the same way when it came to her use of Word and Indesign: she wrote the draft in Word, and that’s where she completed the entire work on its content, reached the point when she considered it to be the final manuscript. Only then did she transfer it into Indesign, and prepared it for publication—mainly doing the typesetting and page layout. But with this, her third book for you and the second in the Oracle series, Author has decided to transfer the draft from Word to Indesign at an earlier stage, when it is not yet final. She wants to do the “Okay, I need to focus now. Everybody go away!” stage of her work in Indesign, because she has realized that at this point she would be more comfortable working with its book-like layout.

Now, that “Okay, I need to focus now. Everybody go away!” that Author is talking about, and has mentioned to you once before, is an important part of the work. It’s also a new part of it, in its present form. What Author wants to do is to run through the draft, give it a good read. Without looking at typos or layout, not yet. That will come later. How is this different from the way she did things in the past? Well, the difference stems from the step that preceded this one. Since, as Author has told you in her post two weeks ago, she didn’t work linearly then, at this point she needs a thorough, linear reread of her work, a reread that includes watching out for more elements than she would have included in such a reread in the past. This, in order to assess whether the draft is in fact complete, that nothing has been missed, that the non-linear work she has done in the last run did not introduce inconsistencies into the story in both structure and content. She wants to check the integrity of…well, of everything in that document on the screen before her. It will be done carefully, and it will be slow, but at the end of it Author will have a good idea of where she is in this book’s path from thought to publication, and how close it is to what she wants it to be.

Wherever you are in your manuscript right now, introducing such a stage into your work could not only help you ensure the integrity of your story, it could also help you reorient yourself. If you’ve been engrossed in the writing or in the completion of details, or if, like Author, you find yourself not working linearly, not gradually working your way forward through the words on your screen or in your hard copy but jumping between chapters according to what it is you want to scrutinize at that moment—plot, characters, locations or any other element—you might now find that you’ve lost the ability to look at your manuscript as a whole picture, to view the entire range of details in the order and place you want for them. The idea of the “Okay, I need to focus now. Everybody go away!” step is to look at your draft without any tracked changes or comments, just a clean copy, and to go over it from beginning to end, linearly this time—section by section, chapter by chapter. If there’s anything missing or anything that needs to be amended, you will see it and will be able to make the changes needed without then having to restart this reread. Although it might not feel this way right now, this manuscript is in your mind, you know it inside out. You will know where to go to complete a detail or change a word, then come back seamlessly to where you left off in the linear read, the whole picture once again forming itself in your mind, all elements falling right back into place as they are—and should by now be—in your manuscript.

This week’s tip from Author and Sister: when the time comes and you feel you’ve completed the content of your story, sit down, open the file in whatever software you’re comfortable with, or as a hard copy if you prefer, and read—first word to last.

 

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