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.