I met with... I'm tempted to say 'my editor' but I better not because I'm not paying her anything (yet)... I met with a friend who's doing WEP out at UQ. She had kindly offered to do a structural edit on Skin Deep and this week we met for the first time since I handed over the MS.
It was quite daunting, giving Skin Deep to someone to read, knowing how rough it was. We had a great discussion and between us have come up with some concrete ideas on how to make Skin Deep a better read. It was so good having someone who is intimate with Skin Deep, to bounce ideas off (and also to have an outside perspective on it). I don't know how keen Claudine will be after the 1000th email starting with 'What do you think of...'
Since then I've been beavering away on fixing some pacing problems in the opening chapters and also merging two characters. It's quite complex work. You shift a chapter and then of course there are multiple flow-on effects. It's challenging but also rewarding. I was saying to my wife that (and I don't know if this is all writers or just me) sometimes you know that something needs to be changed but the tendency is to try and avoid it, and tell yourself it's okay. I don't know if this is just laziness or what! But when you finally bite the bullet and start making the changes, it's really invigorating seeing it all come together.
I'm swapping chapters with a writer friend of mine, which will be great because we're both aiming to have our second draft finished by early October (in case we make the cut for the Hachette MS Development program). So that should help me stay on target to have something polished by the end of the year.
If I don't make the cut, my plan is to give the MS to two or three 'beta readers', with a view to having a polished MS ready for agents/publishers by the end of the year.
It feels so good to be back in the saddle.