Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It’s Done – But Not Yet

Two Important Characters in 12th Man 4 Death

Monday was a milestone date. I finished the draft for my new Sharon O’Mara Chronicle, 12th Man 4 Death. According to my schedule, which I slavishly ignored, I was to complete the first draft by August 1, 2012. I beat the date by more than 60 days. I poured myself another cup of coffee, scratched some personal part of my anatomy, stared at the Apple screen and said, “Well that was fun, now what?”

When writers reach various benchmarks and markers in their book’s progress, there has to be celebrations (if nothing more than to reinforce the writer’s dedication). According to Stephen King some of these celebrations led to alcohol and drug dependence (see On Writing), for others it was an excuse to finally get a tan, and for some, to be reacquainted with loved ones and children. Me, I took a deep breath and opened the file to my next novel; the one that I hope will be my break-through.

I have set aside 12th Man for a while, letting it gestate as well as giving me some separation before I look at the second editing (King said to let it sit for six weeks, I assure you I am not that patient). I don’t see this as a rewrite or second draft of the book, more of a cleanup. I really liked the story, the characters and the further development of Sharon and her close group of friends. The basic story is about her investigating a murder at the start of the America’s Cup races in San Francisco, the murder leads to Europe and all the fun that billionaires and their toys have when it comes to things that are totally unnecessary to modern life. More later on the story as we closer to its publication date.

I have a system when I re-attack a manuscript. In later blogs I’ll go through this as I break down each phase of the rework. It involves everything from spell-checks to usage to contractions and punctuations (very mechanical and cut and dried). I try hard to make my editor’s work easier (that’s Dennis DeRose – see header above). Goal: To have the manuscript edited and ready for publication by mid-August. Then onto ebook and paperback (still can’t call them pbooks, yet). This is the longest of the four Chronicles, almost 90K words, which is 25K more than the first book, Land Swap 4 Death. It took five months to write for those curious readers out there.

One of the reasons that pushed me to complete the draft was the next book I’m working on. This new story is very exciting. My goal is to finish the draft by the end of the year, ambitious to be sure; somewhere around the 140K to 160K word count. If there is an agent who loves Chicago and Italy and World War II out there, send me an email. Love to hear from you. Synopsis and first chapter is available.

Next Monday night, June 4th, I will find out if my hard work on Elk River pays off. It was selected by the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) as a Benjamin Franklin award finalist in the LGBT category, one of three books. Wish me luck; you never know where something like this will lead.

I will also be in Traverse City, Michigan on June 15th for a book signing. It is at Horizon Books on Front Street from 3 to 5. If you are in the area, stop by, I look forward to meeting you.

More Later . . . .

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