After a tough final few chapters, I’ve finally got he entire first draft of Grimblades in the bag.
It was actually pretty plain sailing up until that last little stretch, though I will say a lull in my writing fervour on account of oink flu didn’t help matters.
I finished up the last few bits and pieces of my housekeeping on the novel this morning (and some of this afternoon), and by that I mean spelling and grammar checks, looking out for repeated words, a last survey for typos, re-reading those final few chapters (again), a bit of fact checking and going through my little to-do list that accumulated during the writing of the project.
On a tangent, it’s not a bad idea to make one of these lists during the writing of a novel or other large work. There’s always something that you miss, some inconsistency you might have introduced by mistake or a gap you left to fill in later – writing these down and going back to them at the end is a good idea. Having the list to hand helps you make sure you’ve missed nothing (well, as little as you can). It also allows you to ignore niggles, so as not to interrupt your flow, and get on with the business of actually writing and not editing.
Remember that A4 print out of writerly wisdom I was banging on about last time? Well here’s another one: ‘No writer can stand the attentions of the persistent editor’. I’m not talking about the editor as in the person who reads your book and says what they liked or didn’t like about it, I’m talking about that little voice which exists in all writers, that perfection, that inner-editor, the dark side that can derail even the healthiest writing regimen.
Bring ‘em in, do that, it’s a good idea, but leave until the end or after a chapter, or anywhere so long as it’s not stopping you from writing.
So, the list. I definitely works for me.
There’s always a sense of relief and elation at finishing a novel (depending on whether it was a joy/horror to write – relief is usually guaranteed – elation not so much). Seeing that word count flick up and you’ve reached your target (or thereabouts) is nice. ‘Books should always be as long as they need to be’, someone said to me – that’s right, but do try and hit your agreed word count. Any less and you’re selling your editor short, any more and you could be selling yourself short.
Grimblades in the can then, the next step for me is to get it to my editor and await feedback. Despite my housekeeping (which is usually pretty diligent), I’m sure a few errors (hopefully minor) will have crept in but that’s what read throughs, copy editors and proof readers are for. Still, doesn’t hurt to be fastidious – editor’s like that (take it from me – I know they do).
While that’s ticking over and being scrutinised under the editor’s beady eye, I’ll be turning my attention to new projects. Next up, novel-wise, is Firedrake, the sequel to Salamander, but before that I have a couple of shorter projects to sink my teeth into. More of that in another post.
For now, Grimblades is done and I am heartily pleased with it. I hope fans of Warhammer and the Empire Army series will enjoy it as much as I did writing it (even those last tricky chapters – they turned out very well, though). The book is out July 2010 – I hope you all go and buy it and love it. There, pitch over.