Ah, April, I love you. I love that particular shade of green that newly-unfurled leaves posses. I love that you give me warm days, but that you still provide rain so that everything stays green. You are spring fully realized, when winter is a fond memory and summer is still a promise. You are the first bubbles blown on the lawn, the first bare feet in the grass, the first session on the swing set. You are birds and butterflies and bees. I love you.
April has been a crazy month for me. The day job has been insanely busy. Lots of long days and deadlines. But I’ve weathered it, and the weather outside has cooperated. Always easier to get through hard times when things are balmy and beautiful.
It feels like new life all around. If March is when things push up through the soil, April is when those things grow. Same goes for my writing. I sent my critique partners the first chapter of book two in March, and now I’m getting feedback, which always feels good. I’m very nearly done with all the edits of book two. I rewrote the last three chapters over the weekend, and now I will put them on my Kindle, reread, revise, put it on my phone, have the phone read it to me, revise, and then convert to epub and send to my spouse, who is an excellent first reader. When his suggestions/comments are in, I will consider the draft finished, and then it’s just critique partner feedback from here on out. Book two feels like it’s very close to being in the bag. It also feels like it’s matured from book one. I really enjoy feeling like I’ve actually grown as a writer.
The side effect of that is I now want to revise book one again. The story feels strong, as do the characters and the dialogue, but the writing itself could use a boost. I’m listening to it and making small language changes here and there to try to smooth it out, but I suspect I’m not seeing the bigger picture of my writing. I want to improve, and I feel like I need another person outside my sphere to help me do that. My critique partners are awesome, and I learn from them every day, but I’m feeding them chapter by chapter. I’m a bit hungry for the big bite, the end-to-end.
So I’m planning on hiring an editor. To be honest, I’d planned on hiring one anyway, but then our house remodel project went horribly sideways and we lost thousands of dollars. Goodbye, editing money. In the months since, we’ve managed to recoup some of that lost cash, which means I now have editing funding available again. I have some editors in mind, but I want to save up until I have the entire fee of the most expensive editor. It’s all I can do to not start bothering editors now, but I need to have the money and I need to have my last rounds of revisions done. No sense in not putting my best foot forward.
While book one is with an editor and book two is with critique partners, I’ll be free to work on book three. I have a (very awful) initial draft of the first half of the book, which is a good starting point. There was a plot point I was stuck on, and so I walked my spouse through what I’d already written. His eyes got bigger and bigger. He might have said, “holy shit” a couple of times. And then he asked me where I could possibly take it from there. I have ideas, course, but he had me worrying that I’d written myself in a corner even as he had me feeling really proud that I’d stunned him and gotten him excited. Now I can’t wait to dig into it and show him that yes, the second half will be just as awesome as the first.
In parallel, I’m going to spit-shine my query and get everything ready for post-editor book one. It’ll be interesting to see how it fares in the waters of traditional publishing. If it doesn’t catch an agent, well, good thing the publishing landscape is what it is today. It’ll be time to put all my project management skills and marketing background to use.
Regardless of what happens, I know I have a long way still to go. But it’s exciting. Everything’s more exciting and hopeful in the spring.