Finished my first re-read / edit of Chasing Nonconformity!

That’s right, people — it’s done! Well, this draft, anyway.

As you may recall, I finished my third and final re-write of Chasing Nonconformity (the sequel to Imminent Danger And How to Fly Straight into It) back in March. I vowed to put the manuscript aside for a month or two so that, when I returned to it down the road, I would be able to read it with fresh eyes.

And my plan worked! Sort of. You see, the first person on my “people I force to read the awful first drafts of my books” list is my mother. This is partially because I love her and value her opinion, and mostly because I know she won’t mock me behind my back for the rest of my life if I hand her a terrible manuscript. Not that others have done this, but you can never be too careful!

Anyway, she’s going on vacation starting today. So last weekend she called me and said that if I can get her my edited draft by Friday, she would print it out and bring it with her to the beach. Square deal. So I edited and edited and edited, and … voila! Edited manuscript! Woo!

I had a ton of fun re-reading it — my dear space explorers get up to a lot of shenanigans, and it was awesome to re-live them. I re-worked the first two chapters a bit, as I ran both past my critique group and got some great feedback. I’ll definitely be running future chapters past them, as who knows the craft of writing better than other writers?

The slight problem that resulted from this editing spree is that I discovered the book is approximately 125,000 words. Yikes. By comparison, Imminent Danger is only about 94,000 words — and that was after we cut it down from 110,000 words. Obviously sequels are allowed to be a bit longer than the first book, but once you get over 100,000 words, it’s getting pretty darn long for a YA book. I get the feeling I’ll be doing a lot of chopping in the next few months. Alas!

As a special teaser, here’s a screenshot of the front page of the manuscript:


So after I get the manuscript back from my mother, I’ll go through it again for another round of edits. Then I send the manuscript off to my preliminary beta reading team — a select group of people who I know will both A) provide a quick turnaround, and B) provide useful feedback. Then more edits. Then a second beta reading team … then more edits … then probably back to my mother again … then a round of copy-editing … and then done!

I’m hoping to have it done by the end of the summer, but that’s a bit unlikely, as my best friend’s wedding is coming up in August, so I’ll be somewhat occupied with that. Still, fingers crossed!


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Categories: My Works, Self Publishing | Tags: , , , , , , , | 29 Comments

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29 thoughts on “Finished my first re-read / edit of Chasing Nonconformity!

  1. That’s exciting! Good luck 🙂

    • Thanks 🙂 I’m pretty psyched! Of course, now comes the long waiting game to hear back from my mother and see what she thought of it. Fingers crossed that she doesn’t hate it, lol.

  2. Congrats! What are you going to do while waiting?

    • Thanks! Hmm … I have a post-apocalyptic novel kicking around in my head that might be fun to get on paper. I’m still not sure what’s going on with the plot, though — I’ve mostly got the characters and setting fleshed out. So I might try a short novella from the MC’s POV — you know, what happened to her before the novel starts. Could be a fun exercise … and if it turns out, a freebie I can give people to encourage them to read the actual book 🙂

      • Very cool. Maybe you’ll find a solid plotline in the character’s background.

        • Hopefully! I mean, I have the overall plot concept — it’s a sporting event type competition set up — but I just don’t know what’s going to happen with it. Will they win? Will they lose? Will they all be murdered mysteriously in the night? Who can say!

  3. Hi Michelle! Congrats! It’s so fulfilling to finish an edit. Your mom is awesome! Smart idea using her as a Beta reader. Reading at the beach is one of my favorite pastimes. I’m having some of the same issues you’re having. My manuscript was originally 160,000 words. I managed to cut it down to 140,000 words (Dark Fantasies are allowed more words), but it’s still too many words. I’d like to bring it to 120,000 words. I feel like a serial killer–killing off so many darlings. Ha,ha! All the best and happy editing! 😉

    • Aw, thanks 🙂 I’ll tell my mom she’s awesome — she likes compliments, lol. As for cutting down the manuscript, yeah, it’s going to be brutal. Congrats on cutting yours by 20k! Although, yes, 140k is still quite long. I suppose it really depends on how tight the story is, though. I know many fantasy novels that are easily that long. So it isn’t necessarily the end of the world! I find the best way to cut down a manuscript is to literally read it sentence by sentence and think “Am I saying this in the most concise way possible, but still retaining all necessary information, and also the flow/feel of the story?”. If not, cut it down! 🙂

  4. Sounds like you’re having fun with it, which bodes well for the final product. If you enjoyed writing it, there’s a better chance people will enjoy reading it!

    • That’s my hope! There’s a lot of fluff in there, though, which I have a feeling my mother might tell me to cut out. I’m going to attempt to keep it in there, though. Who doesn’t love fluff? Particularly fluff of the alien variety?

  5. Good news, and good luck! Congratulations and enjoy the achievement. 🙂

    • Thanks, and thanks! I have to say, it felt absolutely phenomenal when I finally stuck that puppy in an email and sent it off to my mother. Of course, she called me about 20 minutes later asking me to reformat the paragraphs, add page numbers, change the font, etc. But it was nice while it lasted!

  6. It’s a major milestone. Celebrate!
    I like your plan for a next work; nothing like a 2-for-1 deal. I’m hoping something will spark me into writing my next work, which now has a hazy but complete shape in my brain.
    Looking forward to reading Chasing Nonconformity when it’s published!

  7. Sensational! Can’t wait to read it when it’s ready. Alpaca my bags… hilarious!

  8. Nothing like a deadline to get one going – I love the “if you can get me the edited draft by Friday…” conversation 😉
    Also, I am intrigued about your beta readers that “A) provide a quick turnaround”: how much time do they usually need to get back to you? I gave my revised first draft to most of my alpha readers in early March and now I’m wondering when it would be a good time to ask them about it.
    By the way, how did you find your beta readers?

    • Ha, yes, deadlines are pretty much the only way I get stuff done. Questions … okay, so my primary beta reading team is basically my brother, my aunt, and then a couple of my friends who express interest. My strategy for getting beta readers is to go first to my friends and say, “Guys, who wants to read this? You have a month”, and then sending copies to everyone interested. I’ve also made a bunch of awesome WordPress fans, so I might use some of them as beta readers. I would say that a month is reasonable to get feedback on a manuscript, although I know some people are busy … so two months, tops? Past that, it’s not that the person is busy — it’s that they’re not making an effort, or that they don’t like your manuscript and aren’t sure how to tell you, lol. That’s actually why it took my mom so long to tell me her thoughts on the very first ever Imminent Danger manuscript — she was purposely putting off reading it because she was concerned she wouldn’t like it. Then she actually read it and loved it, but I still tease her about it, lol.

      • Hi Michelle,
        thank you for the thorough reply – my alpha/beta readers also consist of friends and family. I guess I’ll give them a bit more time and will start asking about it towards the end of May.
        Congratulations on the first draft (ninth draft?) by the way! I’m also impressed by the 125k, I have trouble even breaking into the lower end of that 80k-120k sweet spot range.

        • Thanks 🙂 The word count certainly wasn’t intentional. I was re-writing an existing draft, so I took out the parts I wanted to keep, and then planned out what I wanted to fill in. From there I just filled. And when I finished filling, I was shocked to discover that the word count had ballooned to 125k! I think it results from having introduced a fairly major subplot that takes up a good quarter of the book. Time to start chopping out unnecessary scenes!

  9. Well, you always know how I feel when I hear good news on the CN front–WOOHOO! 8D Glad that at least one of us is getting something done, LOLOL. (Completely unapologetic laughter.)
    Anyway, hope that your mother proves to be useful–although your whole family seems to give nice feedback. I’m always so jealous, since nobody in my family writes/knows how to give constructive feedback/usually even reads the genre I write in. Which is kind of a downer, but OH WELL. I have you internet people for that I guess. ❤
    Anyway, keep plodding along! And I like how it says 'Draft 9,' ha ha. So many drafts, so little time. 😛
    And Happy Easter!

    • Happy Easter right back atcha! I’m sure mother will prove to be useful, although I have a feeling she’s going to come back to me after her vacation and say, “I started to read it, but then I realized how long it is, so I think you should go through and shorten it before I actually read it”. She loves doing that sort of thing. Le sigh.

      • LOL! xDD Well, it does sound a bit long… Not that I can talk, HA. Mine started out obscenely long, and has only become more so in “editing”. I’m going to be so screwed. xD OH WELL. I’ll worry about that later. Anyway, still can’t wait to get my hands on it!!

  10. That’s awesome, looking forward to reading Chasing Nonconformity!

    As for our parents, you may remember my sad story. When I presented my manuscript to my parents, it was met with a startling indifference. A couple of months later, I asked my dad if he had read it, and he went, slightly annoyed, “no, I’m re-reading Martin’s books right now, so it’ll have to wait.”

    Then, a further couple of months later, he called me late at night to say, “great book, son, with some fantastic ideas! I was totally hooked. A page-turner; kept me up at night. You know what this guy did? He took historical elements from ancient Greece and created a space opera with them.”

    So, I asked, understandably confused, “what guy?”

    To which he replied, in an equally confused voice, “why, whoever wrote this. There was no name on the manuscript…”

    If you need a beta-reader, I am – how did you put it? An awesome WordPress fan. 🙂

    • Well, on the plus side, at least he liked your book? Lol. I’ve added you to my beta reader list! It’s getting pretty long, so I might not use everyone on it, but you’re definitely in contention 😀

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