Monday, February 06, 2006

You've finished the book, now what?

I am now a little more coherent than I was last night/this morning, but only a little. At 2:30 or so, I was just about to get in bed when I had the panicked realization that I hadn't made a backup of the work I'd just done. I back up just about daily, so it wasn't like I'd lose the whole book if my computer suddenly blew up, but I'd written nearly 40 pages in one day, and I didn't want to lose that much work. So I ran upstairs and backed up the file to both my jump drive and the off-site place I use for backup. I finally got in bed just before 3. Then I was wide awake shortly after 7, but managed to get back to sleep. And then my phone rang sometime mid-morning, long before someone who didn't get to bed until 3 should be waking up. It was someone looking for my brother. Fortunately, I was just coherent enough to say I didn't know his new contact info, since he's just moved, and neither coherent enough (to think of the clever quote) nor incoherent enough (to think it would be a good thing to say under the circumstances) to come out with, "I can't keep track of him when he's not incorporeally possessing a spaceship. Don't look at me." (There really is a Firefly quote for every occasion.)

Now, to answer some of the questions/remarks in the comments (at LiveJournal) from my last post:

It's kind of hard to say how long I've been working on this book. I started writing the proposal for it (a synopsis and the first three chapters) back in August, then did a round of revisions with my agent. After the book sold, I started working on the book in earnest on November 9. So it took me just under three months, give or take a few weeks.

I wish I could take some zombie time, but at the moment, I don't have that luxury (though I'm really not trying to accomplish much today). I have to write an essay for a Judy Blume tribute book this week. I also have some promotion stuff to get started for Once Upon Stilettos, and I'm doing a speaking thing this weekend I need to get ready for.

Meanwhile, there's the rest of the work that needs to be done on this book. I'm calling this draft 1.5 because I've been revising a bit as I go. I write some, then go back and polish a previous chapter to send to Mom. Usually by the time I'm ready to go back to a chapter for Mom, I'm far enough ahead that I know if I need to change something to set up a later event. I still have five more chapters to get to Mom, and I already know that there's quite a bit that needs to be changed during that round. And then I want to sit down and go through the whole thing as quickly as possible to see how it holds together as an entire book instead of the piecemeal way I wrote it. I already know of a couple of things that need to be adjusted in retrospect (what Mom calls "Bill and Tedding," like the way Bill and Ted would remind themselves that later they'd need to go back in time and set up something for them to use when they got into that situation). I'll also be looking for anything I can trim in the early parts of the book. That's when the book will go to my agent, who will then surely find a lot of other stuff I need to work on.

But it takes her a couple of weeks to get back to me on stuff like that, and possibly longer with a monstrosity of this size, so that will be my "zombie time." Actually, during that time I want to clean my house thoroughly. I'll also be doing some promo work and brainstorming another book idea. Meanwhile, Book Four is starting to stir in my brain.

I was thinking of napping this afternoon, but instead I think I'll force myself to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I may start trying to catch up on the more than 3,000 e-mails in my in-box (seriously) and respond to people who probably think I'm dead. Then I have my exercise class this evening. I plan to pick up some takeout on the way home (maybe Indian food this time), and then I think I'll collapse on the sofa and watch the first-season episodes of Stargate SG-1 they're showing now on Sci Fi (I never actually saw the first season). Tomorrow, I have to get back to work.

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