It’s an odd day. Mixed emotions doesn’t begin to describe it. This afternoon I received my advance physical copy, and to date the only physical copy in existence, of The Sequence. Yet I’m anxious. I look at the book, I pick it up, flip through pages and put it down, out of easy reach. I could rewrite it again and again. I know that my writing has progressed since the submission of the final draft. Perhaps it’s because I am so intimately aware of every page. Perhaps it’s because I am so elbow-deep in the sequel, False Ignition, that the story now reads as historical. At any rate, I am also over the moon to be in possession of this physical representation of my active and ongoing imagination. Release date, August 2021.
My manuscript came back from that lofty evaluation with over 16000 individual edits. Some as simple as punctuation, some more involved with plot, character, structure. This was a struggle for me.
I stared at both versions, the manuscript I had submitted and the returned, edited version, for a week, paralyzed by the entirety of it. And then I set to doing the work, changing my story and making it better thanks to the efforts of my editor. Three versions lived on my monitors, submitted, edited, and the version I was working on. I was in foreign territory, but working within its borders.
I spent weeks rewriting. During one unforgettable phone call with Kevin, I asked if it was PC enough to write, “…at least it was made by the Japanese.” Kevin’s response was that the statement itself isn’t offensive, and anyway it sounds like something Dallas would say. This momentary comment on a character I had created, that someone else now knew well enough to predict their mannerisms, blew my mind.
In essence, for the first time throughout this process of artistic creation, I felt I had succeeded at writing.
So it’s a decent book?
Turns out it wasn’t terrible but it needed a couple of rounds of editing and polish. Kevin had some additional comments further to what was mentioned in the previous blog post.
“This novel feels like maybe your fifth or seventh manuscript rather than your first. And perhaps you have several other manuscripts in your desk drawer that you wrote prior to this one. All that to say, this manuscript is on par with some of the best sci-fi novels out there. It’s gritty, smart, realistic, and it has a lot of sass.
“On a more technical level, the dialogue is snappy and authentic with a good technical argot, the pacing is tight, and the high-tech elements are easy to understand without your having to be overly didactic.
“Overall, it’s a strong debut with a clearly developed style that I know will instantly earn you some lifelong fans.”
After reading this and then running around the block with excitement, I spoke to Jordan, my point of contact at Friesenpress. He mirrored Kevin’s sentiment. My elation grew. What I was as yet unaware of however, was how much work lay ahead of me. Editing, as it turns out, is a difficult emotional journey.