That post-book thing….

Put the second draft of MAYAN DECEMBER in the mail yesterday. The first draft wrote itself, but the second one took a while.
I’ve been out and about doing readings for THE SILVER SHIP AND THE SEA. Well, when you read your prose out loud, it sounds different than it does than when you read it on the page. At least, my prose does. As to how it sounds different, well, it’s a touch more awkward. So I’ve found myself editing as I read out loud…cutting unneeded words, chopping out whole sentences that didn’t mean anything. Well, who wants to do that on the fly in front of audiences? Not me.
So I did an initial pass at MAYAN DECEMBER (cut a bit here, add a bit there, chop an uppity character’s role back and give a shy one more to say…that kind of thing). Then I proceeded to read a few lines out loud.
Guess what the prose sounded like.
So I decided I’d read the first three chapters out loud and fix the awkward bits I found there. Every page at at least two changes on it. Missed words, extra words, wrong words…you get the idea.
There were so many changes, I read the whole first 150 pages out loud to whatever poor unfortunate beings were around. Substitutes for bedtime stories for the kid. Morning wake up reading for the dogs. Evening serenades for the hollyhocks and the delphiniums, the roses and the weeds.
Sent it off to a good friend who promised to read it for me and give me last-first-reader crit and find the stupid grammar things. This is someone who has been reading my work for years and knows my strengths and weaknesses so well I get told them as #1, #2, and #3 rather than in long form. A shorthand of critique.
What does she say? The first few hundred pages sing. After that, well, #1, #2, #3.
That means I have to read all five hundred pages out loud. Luckily, no one complained. Not the dogs, not the kid, not the weeds. Well, one of the delphiniums fell over. I hope it wasn’t from boredom.
Anyway, getting the manuscript in the mail felt fabulous, and I’m sure I’ve never sent my agent a cleaner manuscript.
Although this morning, I did notice a typo in my cover letter.
On to the next project. Except maybe I’ll pull the weeds first.

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