Seeing in Triplicate

Firstly, I finished two more rounds of editing. My book is currently in Revision 3e, and it is perfect. Really, pretty much perfect. I could publish it today, and I would be happy.

If you read my previous post, you know I was in another editing phase. I was so pleased with the results of 3d, I turned around immediately and went back through it again with the same fine-toothed comb, producing 3e. Yes, I did some more tweaking, but also by the time I got to 3e, I had cut so much wordiness that I was relaxed enough to be willing to occasionally add more words in order to make the writing smoother or the meaning clearer. And between the two revisions, I caught several typos which either my husband missed on his round of copy editing 3c, or I accidentally added in by messing with 3c later. (There is the irritating possibility that 3e has some of those typos, where you hit the space key and didn’t realize, or whatever. That’s why you proof-read your final copy before you publish.)

3 bears reading a book
Goldibooks and the 3 editors

I am absolutely amazed at where I have been able to bring this with my own editing skills. It reads like a finished, polished work — even more so than when I completed 3c and handed that out to a couple people to read — and I have gone over it enough times to know there are no holes, no loose ends.

That’s not to say it couldn’t be better. Which brings me to my secondly

Secondly, I have taken the next step and reached out to a content editor. I have been working towards this moment for months. I’ve got a chapter-by-chapter summary, 3 synopses (medium-long, short, and shorter), a blurb, a throughline, a couple of versions of an elevator pitch, and a list of similar books with comparisons. And, of course, a polished draft.

This one is at 297,366 words, which is about 70% of the original. Yeah, it’s a lot. By word count alone, it equals 2 large “epic novels,” or maybe 3 novels of more reasonable length.

Actually, what it equals, is the first of George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire books, which is 298,000 words. Yes, people, I have written A Game of Thrones

Except I haven’t.

GRRM was literally publishing things before I was born, so when he published A Game of Thrones in 1996, it was totally cool that it was already 3 books long. No biggie. Also, he is an experienced chess player, which shows in his books. I am not a chess player, or at least not a good one. Which I fear is quite evident in my book, except that my sons are my sounding boards, and both of them are decent chess players.

So that brings me to my thirdly

Thirdly, I had an epiphany. You know, I have this problem that I’ve written this novel that’s really too long, and who is going to take a chance on a long debut novel by an unknown author in a culture where people want things short and snappy? In fact, you’ve probably walked away from this blog post before you even got to this paragraph, because blogs are cool, and all, but who really has time to read them? 

And there is a place where you could divide it in half, if you’re ok with leaving your readers kind of on the edge of a cliff at the end of the first book, but there’s the problem that even if you try to divide it up, it was never meant to be two books, and even then the books are still too long. Like that sentence.

But then I was drifting off to sleep last night, and it hit me that you could divide it into three books. (That thought was highly conducive to a restful night’s sleep, if you’re wondering.) In fact, it would make A LOT of sense to do it that way. And then you have three books of reasonable length (although the last one would pretty much still have to be over 120k words). And also, if you intend it to be one cohesive story, it is easier to divide it into three books than two. People are used to trilogies.

Well. I have a lot to think about, and an exciting next step of actually talking to someone about future next steps!

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