A SHIFTING OF STARS IS COMPLETE!
The countdown is on! In less than two months my debut YA fantasy, A SHIFTING OF STARS, will be released!
It’s a strange thought to know that my book will be out in the world on 28th May, 2019. Especially since I first started writing the draft at the end of 2014. Which is almost five years ago. Which is a very long time!
Not that I was working on A SHIFTING OF STARS for the entire duration. I probably wrote seven chapters in the first couple of years. Then I dabbled here and there as life became busy. After that, I set the manuscript aside for a while and came back to it one day when I randomly read through it in my email while I was waiting for an order of fish and chips. After not reading my book for so long, I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t hate it.
Only a few days later, I decided that I would knuckle down and finish the manuscript once and for all. I’d completed books before (four of them to be exact!), but this one was different. I had never taken so long to write something that I knew I wanted to finish—something that I had been planning, and plotting, and writing copious backstory notes about for ages.
I knew I had to give myself a deadline.
It took me another few months to get the first draft done. Following Stephen King’s advice to just keep writing until you reach the end, I plowed on. I did not reread anything I had written (except when I hand wrote some pages and had to type them up afterward)! I remember that my number one fear during this time was that the story would feel disjointed if I didn’t pore over what I had written. Turns out, I was utterly wrong about that. For some unknown (and possibly slightly magical) reason, the story came together. The sentences needed a lot of refining, but the story itself and the character arcs seemed to work.
More revisions followed. And more. And more. In that time I realized that maybe the story itself and the character arcs didn’t work as brilliantly as I’d thought. So fixing them was exciting. (Ha! Not really.) But I did eventually finish the developmental edits.
And then—after all that was done—it was time to focus on the language. Fun fact: In order for my brain to really zone in on the rhythm of my writing, I have to revise in complete silence, so I spent a lot of my editing time up late at night with a cup of tea, squinting at the screen. (Thank goodness for night mode on the computer!) My already terrible sleep schedule became worse as the hour of my bedtime kept getting pushed back because I wanted to stay up to finish “just one more chapter”. (Side note: I do not recommend this because resetting my circadian rhythm has been hard!)
Anyway, loads more revisions happened after that, then feedback from amazing beta readers, followed by more revisions, frantic emails and . . . more revisions. Fast forward through copyediting and proofreading with my fabulous editor (seriously, the best!), and it finally feels like A SHIFTING OF STARS is ready.
As I write this, of course, I still plan on reading through my book a couple more times before the 28th May. Even though I’m sure it is finished. Even though I’m sure I will be terrified at the possibility of finding a mistake while I’m reading! I once read a quote from an anonymous author who stated that she knows she’s finished revising a book when she is holding the finished hardcover in her hands and she realizes that begging for a comma to be removed will ultimately amount to no good. I love that. And, you know, I hope to have the capacity for that same realization when the time comes!
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