Tuesday, July 19, 2005

In she goes...

There's nothing quite like it. After four months of rewriting, rewording and replotting Hal Spacejock 2, I finally emailed it to my editor. And I beat the deadline by one day, which is icing on the cake.

I finished the original novel in 2003, and you might wonder why it needed 4 months of work when I already considered it done way back then. First, a book is never finished. You can always cut more flab, and you can always improve the plot or characters. Second, writers get better with practice. After you've written three or four novels, your earlier stuff can start to look pretty dire. During a rewrite you can address both of these problems.

The first edition of Hal 2 weighed in at 79,500 words. From March to late June 2005 it grew to 90,000, thanks to new and expanded scenes. Then I had three weeks to trim it back to a target of 80,000. Guess what, it ended up at 79,500. (No, I didn't just remove the same words I spent 3 months adding!)

Yesterday I read straight through the first ten chapters with a big smile on my face, enjoying myself immensely. I suppose the parallel is when a director first sees the final cut of their film - for ninety minutes (or three hours, if you're Peter Jackson...) you close your eyes to the camera angles, editing and hastily-completed sets and just enjoy the thing, soaking it up like a regular cinema patron.

Am I happy with the finished novel? Yes, very. I've always liked Hal Spacejock: Just Desserts the best, followed by the original Hal Spacejock, and finally Hal Spacejock: Second Course. Now that books one and two have been rewritten and edited, I'd have a much harder job picking a favourite. (I should say Hi to Jules, who would like nothing more than Hal 4 ;-)

Anyway, Hal 2 is in. I'm sure Janet (my editor) will send the file back with dozens of comments and clarifications for me to address, but that's just another step in the process. One I'm really looking forward to ;-)

Then, on to book three!

Simon Haynes is the author of the Hal Spacejock and Hal Junior series (Amazon / Smashwords / other formats)


David Forbes said...

Congrats on finishing it up. My second novel (well, actually, third, but second in this series) has been a breeze to write compared to the first one. You're definitely correct about writing getting easier with practice.

Are your books going to be released in the US? I don't see them listed on Amazon.

Simon Haynes said...

I'm just about to start work on book three, and I'm hoping this one just needs a polish. I only finished the thing 14 months ago, and I remember putting in a load of effort to polish it back then.

My books should appear on Amazon (I keep searching their site with the ISBN: 192073189X), but as an import they'll cost more than books published in the US. (There's the cost of getting them over there, for a start.)

Of course, if a US publisher picks the series up it'll be released at a normal US price. And it'll be a different book, of course... I've heard the horror stories where authors have to start the whole editing process from scratch to prepare a book for the US market. For example, changing major characters to the opposite sex, ensuring at least two of them are father-and-son, and apparently it's essential to have someone like Jar-Jar binks to laugh at.

(Yes, my tongue is firmly planted in my cheek.)

David Forbes said...
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