Next Steps for My Book and Dirk McPecks

editing

At least I’m not afraid of red or taking a ridiculous amount of notes. I am a little afraid of commas.

I’m sitting here, glasses on, burned coffee beside me, and water dripping off my hair and down the back of my shirt because I’m not going out today, so who am I trying to impress? Right now, I’m taking a break from tweaking that book I’ve been working on because that’s all that’s left. Tweaks. (Don’t tell me that’s not a fun word.)

The major revision work is done (I hope) and now all I’m doing is reading through it one more time to fix all those times I changed tense for no damn reason at all or typed something redundant or got a little rambly. And I’m realizing I suck at titling chapters, so we might have to crowd-title that shit, y’all.

Next step: My family gets to read it, and then tell me all the things I got wrong so we can argue about it until someone feels bad and buys everyone else a pizza as an apology. (Really, I’m just in this for the pizza.)

Next, Next step: I’ll start contacting people who are in the book (well, the ones I’m sure wouldn’t hang up on me if I called), just to give them a head’s up and the option of using a pseudonym. So, if you think you might be in my book, start thinking of clever pseudonyms like Dirk McPecks, but you can’t use that one because I already called dibs.

Honestly, I’m a little jittery about that part. I know not everyone’s going to appreciate being written into a book, even if all I’m doing is talking about how awesome they are.

This is my super fierce editing face. This is the face that writes, "Dammit, Kristy! Nobody wants to read about this shit," in red ink.

This is my super fierce editing face. This is the face that crosses entire pages out and writes, “Dammit, Kristy! Nobody wants to read about this shit,” in red ink.

Next, Next, Next Step: Beta readers. After I’ve “done the right thing” and contacted everyone on my list, I’ll go through and make all the name changes I need to make, then turn the whole thing over to a group of beta readers. I’ll get some feedback, and I’ll go through another round or two of revisions based on that. Maybe all the beta readers think that scene of my family eating dinner was too short. I could add more. Maybe they all think that Bible study scene is the most boring thing they’ve ever read and why, God, why am I putting them through this? It’s not like I can’t cut a scene or two and replace it with something else. A lot of things happened and hardly any of those things are included in the manuscript right now. (See how I used the term “manuscript” there? That’s how you know I’m super legit. It could even be argued that I’m too legit, but don’t worry. I won’t quit.)

While my family is doing their read-through, I want to get together a list of beta readers. I’ve already had a few people express an interest, but I need a few more. If you’re interested, please let me know. If you’re not interested, but you know someone who might be, please check with them. Ideally, a beta reader is someone who will give me both positive and negative feedback. What works well? What doesn’t work well?

Why does everything I write come across like a sugar-crazed, hyperactive 14-year-old wrote it? This. This is why.

Why does everything I write come across like a sugar-crazed, hyperactive 14-year-old wrote it? This. This is why.

Next, Next, Next, Next Step: This is where I freak out because the beta readers have my manuscript and they’re all reading it and judging it and judging me, but that’s okay because I’ll get over it since I know having more eyes on it will make it way more awesome than I could make it on my own. Then I’ll get all emotional and start crying because I can’t believe people volunteered to read my book and I love them all so much and I want to bake them cookies.

Next, Next, Next, Next, Next Step: One last read through. One last round of line edits, which result in me googling comma usage and chewing on my pen because why aren’t comma rules more straight-forward holy crap English is the worst! And then I’ll start querying agents and I’ll mention my very large family who will all buy my book, so who needs a big online platform?

I’m excited and anxious and a little nauseous. And suddenly very aware of how much I abuse the word “and”.

The thing is, I’ve been saying, “I’m going to write books” since I was eight years old. When I was eighteen, and all that stuff with the stalker happened, my life took off in an unplanned for direction. I always meant to write this book, and now I have. And, whatever happens next, I’m going to chalk that up as a victory.

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