Guys, big news. Two years after finishing my first draft and a year after getting a book deal, I just sent the copy-edited The Girl of Ink and Stars (formerly The Cartographer’s Daughter and still titled thus in the US) to my publishing manager. Which means next time I see it, it will be laid out in all its finery, in ACTUAL BOOK LAYOUT.
Ok, so maybe it’s not THE big news i.e. publication, but as the writer it’s possibly the biggest step in this process so far. It’s in essence my final draft. More for my geeky benefit than yours, let me take you through the number of drafts my little story has been through, with word counts and all for extra keenness.
Draft 1: 82,934 words – completed September 2013
Draft 2: 107,379 words – completed December 2013
Draft 3: 68,223 words – completed March 2014 (ms sent to agents and accepted)
Draft 4: 70,530 words – completed May 2014 (ms sent to publishers and accepted)
Draft 5: 55,225 words – completed March 2015
Draft 6: 48,109 words – completed July 2015
Draft 7: 48,590 words – completed September 2015
Draft 8: 47,185 words – completed October 2015
Draft 9: 46,881 words – completed November 2015 (copy-edited version)
As you can see, my ms has never been shorter but it is definitely in the best shape it can be. Being my first ever attempt at writing fiction, let alone a novel, I basically threw everything I had at it – and what I had was an obsession with One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Northern Lights, Lighthousekeeping and Skellig. So not the most cohesive of inspirations. I’m lucky to have found an agent, then a publisher, then an editor, then a copy-editor that understood what I was getting at.
In a future blog post, I’ll compare my beginnings because they shifted a lot, as did the number of myths/stories told within the text. I also didn’t start knowing that it would be a book primarily for children, though it quickly became clear that this was what I was subconsciously most interested in. It was a real challenge, as my natural ‘voice’ in poetry – and life – is quite adult in theme and language, but I think restriction can often be where you find the most freedom when writing.
ANYWAY, the point of this blog post is to say: ‘I’ve done it.’ And that it didn’t come out perfect first, second, or even eighth time. But I really think it’s as close to the best it can be now, so it’s time to let it go.