Manuscript Preperation – The Climb #218

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Manuscript Preperation – The Climb #218

Sunday 27th August 2017

The final stage before I send off a manuscript is what I like to call manuscript prep.  It’s the stage where I go and run a spell checker, fix small formatting issues and similar things that need to be done before sending the manuscript off.

I’ll check things that I’m worried about and maybe know that I make constant errors over (such as spelling one character’s name as Brummfield instead of Brumfield).

This is the time to panic.  This is the time to think of a hundred different things that could stop this manuscript from being perfect.

However, I’ve been over this manuscript, including doing manuscript prep many times.  As some of my Midwestern friends like to say, “this ain’t my first rodeo.”

I’ve done all those changes in Word though.  A failure in my process that this round of drafts have shown up is that I will export a major draft to Word as version X.0, do some manuscript prep for X.1 and possibly X.2, but when I come to the next draft, end up using X.0 instead  (as that’s the highest version I have in Scrivener).

So today’s big task was to do the manuscript prep but put the changes not into a Microsoft Word version of 16.1, but in Scrivener instead.  This involved running the spelling and grammar checker on the version of 16.0 that Kate read and made comments on in Microsoft Word, but putting the changes into Scrivener.  Scrivener does have its own spellchecker but I don’t think it’s as powerful.

A big thing to come out of this is that I spellcheck in UK English.  Given that I have a US agent and possibly will be working primarily with a US Publisher, I’m wondering if I should save myself a lot of hassle down the line and start using US English for my spelling.  This would mean writing armor from now on, which would be annoying.

The spell check for the most part was boring.  It’s mostly finding names of things so 96% of everything it found could be ignored.  I knew I start a lot of sentences with conjunctions, but some of this is style.  I do use the word “so” a ridiculous amount  (I also found this when I did the vlogs so I think it’s a personal tick rather than a stylistic one).

The other huge thing to come out of this was I found some edits Kate had made which I’d missed.  I think I made the mistake, late of night, of going over comments rather than changes, but the net result is that I went over all Kate’s changes for a second time.  I found enough I’d missed to make the process worthwhile.

But the problem with Manuscript preparation is that it is ridiculously boring.  I lost the will to live several times during the evening.  Couple with that, the growing fear that this is it, this is what you are going to be judged on.  I keep finding more things I want to check when it comes to manuscript prep, when logic dictates that by the time you reach version 16.1, you probably need to check less not more.  But it’s true that no matter how much you check a manuscript, there will always be errors.  There’s an old adage that as soon as you get your printed book, you’ll open it on a random page and spot an error.

Knowing this doesn’t make the panic any less.  Missing some of Kate’s notes has got me to the stage where I’m convinced I’ve either missed some of my agent’s comments or I’ve screwed up the version control and lost all the changes she suggested.  Never mind that Kate’s just read it and the manuscript is some 30,000 words lighter.

The stress at this stage is unreal.  All self-induced.  Little things that would have irked me really pissed me off today.  I think at one stage I was ready to quit swordfighting  (I won’t) when the person who is supposed to be helping me with things couldn’t make it for me to show them the stuff they need to do by the end of the week, and I then subsequently had to sort out the room booking.

I know this is all driven by novel worry.  As I sat there tonight, stressing over pressing the next on the spellcheck dialogue what felt like thousands of times, I told myself that this is the grind.  This is the hard work people never see.  This is the work that’s going to make the difference.

My plan is to rise early tomorrow so I can double-check that my agent’s changes haven’t been missed (they haven’t for the aforementioned reasons but I need to check for my own sanity).  I also want to reread the first three chapters to myself to ensure that (my biggest fear currently) I’ve not caused a continuity error  (Kate has already said there isn’t but still…).

I then need to export the manuscript and sort out the weird thing where all the highlighting gets transferred over.

And then, by lunchtime, I want to get it to my agent.

This won’t be the last time I edit this novel.  But it’s the last time for now, and that’s bad enough!

If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.

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2017-08-28T09:35:22+01:00August 28th, 2017|Process, Swordfighting, The Climb, Writing|0 Comments

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