Writing this has been a long time coming; almost from the moment I decided that since my Honor’s Path series takes place in a Feudal Japan-like setting that I should use largely Japanese religious traditions and ideas within the story. A quick disclaimer, I am not a follower of Shinto and cannot claim to be an expert on the religion. I have, at best, a lay understanding of the material. With that addressed, let us continue.
Last Saturday I finished Draft 3 of By Duty Bound, which is a lot of progress. I’ve taken a short “break” in the interim, both to unwind from the grueling pace I set and to compile materials I know will help me with the next step: Proof Reading. I keep a checklist of common grammar and spelling mistakes, and a list of common issues I’ve noticed crop up in my writing. For instance, during my last editing pass I noticed that I am using the words “just”, “really”, “simply”, “immediately”, and “actually” far too often. Obviously I tried to fix that during my last edit, however this checklist reminds me to do a very through check by using common word-processing functions like Find and Replace, allowing me to locate every instance of these sorts of mistakes and be sure I fix them.
As I was editing Draft Three I was helped by a new beta reader who gave me some good comments (in addition to some flattery). Actually implemented most of his suggestions to some degree or another, in addition to fixing some other issues I noticed. There is only one major thing that he pointed out that I haven’t fixed, although not for lack of wanting to. The problem is that he believes (and I agree) one of my characters is underutilized. Unfortunately, correcting that would mean rewriting large swaths of the book and I am so late in the process that it would basically send me back at least 4, and likely more, since I would need to restart editing process.
In any case, I’m not exactly sure how long it will take me to work my way through this new checklist. It is about 9 pages long, and once I reach the end of it (and do a couple other things) I can say that I am finished with drafts and move on to release candidates. Doubt I will have the book ready by May like I hoped, but am definitely going to have it out by summer. Already thinking about how I want to go about handling the launch (if I want to have it up for preorder or what have you). Those are all business-y decisions, however.