Today was a really exciting day.
I spent most of the early hours of this morning checking my email via my smart phone because my editor tipped that she would complete her edit of my manuscript. As I was working in the Neonatal ICU (where phones are supposedly not allowed - even though the worst offenders in breaking this rule are the consultant physicians!!), I kept stealing the "occasional" (ie. every ten minutes or so) check of my account. I tweeted that I don't think I've been this excited to receive something in the mail - not even my university grades! Sure enough, as promised, the manuscript hit my inbox just as I was leaving work at 7AM. I fairly burst with excitement and I think I even broke into a skip as I crossed the street outside the hospital - a mid 30's man with facial hair looks pretty scary skipping I am sure.
My editor sent me two copies - one version shows all the changes which I could, if I wanted, go through and accept or reject all the changes individually - a time consuming process for sure. The second version has been fully edited and requires only that I read through it and decide for myself whether or not I am happy with her work. She also sent me an eight page document of explanatory notes and suggestions for consideration. The latter version and the explanatory notes is the version I will concentrate on for my final run through because - in a word or three - what she has done has been nothing short of fantastic!!
I was so excited when I got home from work that, even though I had to work again tonight, I just couldn't resist laying down with the second version and begin reading it. I was blown away. All of the grammatical chook poo that I had missed on the 1st and 2nd edits of the manuscript have been comprehensively polished away. She has slightly tweaked certain lines of dialogue and description and has reworked certain scenes in very subtle ways as to make them really pop. I am so thrilled with what she has achieved - what am I saying "she"s the cat's mother! I'll call her J out of respect for confidentiality.
The explanatory notes set out in brilliant detail all that which J has recommended I consider and looking through it I can't help but smile at her thought processes. A lot of her suggestions address things that I'd had trouble with but was unable to come up with ways of addressing myself. It was as though J had read my mind and solved my dilemmas.
Now that I have it back in hand I am eager (who am I kidding - I cannot wait) to sit down with it and get cracking with the final, FINAL edit. I leave for Kangaroo Island on the 26th for a week. The laptop will be packed, the wine will be bought and I am thinking...Vince Jones will be the music for the week (well that's what I believe anyway - my partner Emily, will probably overrule me - dammit).
I spoke to Mel (the photographer) and she has decided that we will need to do another shoot for the cover. The images that she captured last weekend, while good, weren't - in the final analysis - quite there. She said that the rosemary sprigs really need to have the flowers on them in order to make them 'pop' and I have to agree. It was the one thing I was searching for on my expidition to find the rosemary in the first place but I settled - and I don't want to settle. We will set up a time probably in the first week of January and go for gold then.
In the past couple of weeks I have connected with a number of really wonderful people in the online writing realm and a really rather lovely group has emerged that has really made me feel good about this whole endeavour. The stand out has been Melissa Luznicky Garrett, whose novel "Precipice" I reviewed in my previous blog post. The other stand out has been Melissa Halkett of IreadIwrite Publishing who has sent a lot of encouragement my way and has made me feel as though this dream of mine will be achieved.
It's funny you know...a friend of mine asked me recently why I wasn't going down the traditional route of submitting my manuscript to a traditional publisher. To answer that here frankly, would be to reveal perhaps a little of my politics with regards to the established industry here in Australia so I will keep that on the down low. What I will say however is that writing for me is a purely creative endeavour, an endeavour of love rather than money. The opportunities in the online realm are far more attractive to me in their potency - their ability to connect me with a large audience. It can be a wonderful and inspiring place.
Merry Christmas by the way...