Where did I put my fat lady?

That’s right, the fat lady is not singing. I don’t even know where she’s hiding! I think it’s because she knows her voice isn’t going to be needed for a little while longer yet. Gaia’s Engine is not finished. By this time I thought I’d have sent my first three chapters and the synopsis off to Medallion Press, and be biting my nails down while they made a decision about whether they want to see the full manuscript. But that’s not the case.

Yes, I did complete the final draft a few weeks ago, but that’s not the end of the process. Here’s what I do after that…

I’m still getting feedback from other writers at WriteClub, but there are other people that need to see the novel too. It’s always good to have two or three people read your book in its entirety. People you can trust to give you honest and constructive feedback. They say you should never do this with friends and family. However critical they try to be of your work, it’s very difficult for them not to hold back. Nobody likes to offend people, especially people they like. But I always break that rule, and I’m glad I do, because the best critic of my work has always been Ruth (my wife, for those of you who don’t know). And she came up trumps this time too.

I did what I always do with a new novel – I got the full manuscript printed up as a private print job so that anyone reading it feels like they’ve got a real book in their hands. I find it helps get a really fresh perspective on the novel. Somehow, it’s easy to pick up mistakes. Anyway, I did that, read through it myself, found a load more typo mistakes and some continuity errors, but all in all, I was pretty proud of what I’d written. So I gave it to Ruth. asked for her to read it with a critical eye. The result? Boy do I need to make changes.

Basically, without giving you spoilers, I’ve got to…

Rewrite one of the characters (she’s a terrible cliche), add five more scenes, cut two, seriously alter four others and fix a couple of plot holes. Major work, but the good news is that the novel will be so much stronger as a result. And it might not end there. I’ll need a couple more eyes on it first before I feel confident enough to submit. I’ll update again when I’ve made a bit more progress.

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