So what happens next?

You may (or may not) be wondering where Vessel goes from here, so I’d like to dedicate a few blog posts to the next few steps in the journey of my manuscript. I’ve got a couple of directions I can go, but there’s nothing set in stone. Hopefully by blogging what I’m doing I can help other authors by showing what I’ve done, and perhaps spark the intrigue of readers who are interested in where something like this goes from here.

The first step for me is the editing process. My manuscript is currently with an editor who is busy scribbling away with his red pen in the slim hope that something beautiful can be carved from this rough lump of rock. No doubt you had some ideas of your own for where Vessel can be improved (please do feel free to tell me!) and I’d like to get the manuscript in as ship-shape condition as I possibly can before moving to the next stage. Some might say sending it out to an external editor is overkill, but the market is tough and extremely competitive, and if I’m going to make this work I need to do it right.

So what’s the editing process all about? By day, I’m a copywriter/copyeditor/journalist (it’s a small company with limited budgets) and I’ve seen first hand the common misconceptions of editing. The first is that many people think that editing is simply proofreading. Proofreading is good, and an important part of the process, but it isn’t the complete package. Assuming the manuscript (or any copy, for that matter) is in a good enough state not to need structural rearrangement or some other kind of serious amendment, then a copyedit is required. The copyedit is the smoothing of the rough diamond, the polish to the wet-and-dry paper, removing the edges and bringing out the story. This includes trimming words and even sentences that aren’t necessary, rearranging and changing words for smoother, more consistent reading, polishing dialogue, fact-checking — things like that. It’s a gruelling job, but a rewarding one (and one best done by someone with fresh eyes).

So that’s where we’re at now. It’s a welcome break from the manuscript, giving me a chance to settle into something new (a project that will be revealed on these pages very soon) and it’s the divide that stands between now and where Vessel goes next. Once it’s done, it’s time to send some letters out to agents, but I’ll worry about that when I get to it.

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6 thoughts on “So what happens next?

  1. A few thoughts on Vessel I want to share while their fresh in my mind. I’ve just read through chapters 18 to 28, having got behind on reading them as they were posted. Firstly, the editing process can be a very good experience for some writers, certainly for those serious about their craft, and having an external editor go through your work is well worth the time and money, if paid for of course.

    On the subject of reading a novel on a web page – whilst fun and engaging to read, I personally think a reader doesn’t have the same connection to characters and story as they do when reading an ebook/printed book for a few reasons. Layout on a web page for one, doesn’t feel right, paragraphing with indents etc can disrupt the flow. That’s a side issue and not reflective of your writing ability.

    I’ll certainly enjoy reading Vessel in book format, and look forward to it.

    Having read your Noah’s Ark novel I was hoping for a connection, and though I can see some similarities I felt that something was missing if that was your intention to link them together. Though I’m also wandering if there’s more to come after Vessel, given the ending so far. I’d like to know!

    As a piece of writing it works well on some levels. There’s enough detail on the ISS for the reader to picture the zero gravity – and I had images of the movie 2001 floating in my head at times. One concern I had was that of locations on Earth. At times I had to backtrack to see where certain characters were at certain times. So whilst you describe the ISS very well, Earth bound locations could use a dose of that detail, or perhaps reinforcement.

    One piece of advice I’ve learned – ease up on the exclamation marks. I’ve read from dozens of sources that one ! per so many words (some say 10,000, others say 100,000 words) is more than enough. If you convey a characters mood, mental state, physical appearance etc enough then the reader will know dialogue has the stresses to mentally add those exclamation marks.

    I love good dialogue, and the ones that stood out for me were between Sally and Mikhail. Those scenes flowed better than those with other characters. Again, feedback would be easier to give when reading a manuscript/book than web pages.

    I thought the final couple of chapters, 28 and Epilogue were a bit rushed. I would have liked to see more description. It could have been slowed down a little to give the reader a chance to process everything, all the changes and potential outcome what-ifs etc.

    Overall Vessel has been an enjoyable read, and worthy of time spent editing, from proof read right through to the polish. I’d be very much interested in reading a copy, ebook or otherwise, and offer any feedback.

    Out of curiosity, if you were to publish digitally how would you tackle the issue of a cover? I’m preparing my novel for publication on Amazon this year, having been through the editing process, but I’m stumped on what to do about a book cover. I’m looking for an artist who can capture what my imagination is telling me, but as I plan a three part series I want that artistic consistency throughout.

    Part of me is saddened Vessel has finished as I’ve looked forward to emails with the next chapter, though I am happy that you’re moving onto the next stage in the process and keen to read more posts of how you move through the journey from conception, to writing, editing and publication.

    Keep writing Andy!

    • Hi Dave,

      Thanks for following Vessel – I’ve really appreciated your support and critique through posting it. One way or another, it will be published. We’ll just have to wait and see how!

      Vessel and Noah’s Ark are entirely separate entities with no connections whatsoever, sorry ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      I’ve made a note of your comments, and I’ll run them by the editor, thank you. No doubt he will say the same.

      I’m going to be working on the cover myself, but I know Jason Gurley is well respected. He did the cover for Hugh Howey’s ‘Wool’ I believe.

      If you could let me know your email then I can send you the word doc of Vessel, which you can send to your kindle, if you’d like?

      Thanks again ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Andy,

        I know now why I thought there was a connection, the character name Aleks is in both if I remember correctly. I had a look at Jason Gurley’s website, interesting work indeed, though sadly at the moment a little out of my price range but worth keeping in mind for the future.

        I’d be honoured to have a read through in word doc format, my email is dave[at]davefarmer.co.uk. More than happy to offer any constructive feedback to aid Vessel in it’s journey to a wider audience!

  2. Email sent! Thank you.

    Yeah, there’s an Alex in Noah’s Ark and an Aleks in Vessel, well remembered ๐Ÿ˜‰

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