Well, it took a little longer than I thought, but I've finished my final polish at last. I ended up spending all of my time during the weekend with my sons, and I greatly enjoyed it. I suppose even writers need a break from their work. I've spent all days and evenings since reading the second half of the manuscript and typing it into the computer. I suppose it differs between writers, but I enjoy the reading and editing more than typing it all in.
I managed to get the manuscript down to 118,000 words, but I added an emotional chunk in the last chapter which took the manuscript up to 118,600 words. Still, it's better than 126.600, and it is true what they say; less is more. This first book of mine has gone through major changes since the original manuscript, but it being my first, I've been learning as I go and I'm very pleased with the results. What I've chopped off this round are things like "Meg said sardonically" and such, because the reader can already see that her remark was sarcastic.
--> The reader isn't stupid and can read between the lines.
I've wondered if I'd have to do such serious changes through the next manuscript, but I highly doubt it since I know a lot more now and I should be able to apply it as I write. My fingers are itching to write the next book, I already have some scenes written, but I've read some blogs and articles that recommend holding off writing the second book in a series until the first book is ready for publication, since the manuscript will go through serious editing first and that might change the whole second manuscript. I suppose I'll just write some scenes while querying agents, since the process supposedly takes so long.
Now that the manuscript is ready for querying, it's time to work on my full proposal again. I've found many articles and blogs on how to do it, and I'll also read Randy's book, which is just wonderful and easy to follow. I'll save the comparison to other books in the same genre for last, I think, since it's going to take some pondering. I know that it'll fly off my fingers once I get into it though. I have already finished the two-page synopsis, which wasn't difficult to write at all! All I did was follow Randy's formula and voila! Randy is my Wikipedia of getting published.
--> Write a two-page synopsis.
I submitted my one-sentence summary to Rachelle Gardner's blog, but I learned that it was much to vague. I'll have to spend some time on it to make it better. Rachelle made long posts on what made the winning entries win and what made the bad one bad. I think I need to introduce more conflict into the sentence. There's a lot of conflict in the book, but to make it so that it's conveyed in 25 words or less is a bit difficult. Apparently, according to some, this one-sentence summary (storyline) is a big deal for publishers. I like Randy's reasons for writing one, and that is to be able to tell people and agents/publishers you're meeting what the book is about in one, short sentence. I tried following his instructions on how to write one, but as I said, mine is too vague and could apply to a number of books.
Currently it goes: Stuck in a mystical world, Eva is forced to pick a side in a deadly battle between good and evil to get home.
I also had: Eva and the boy of her dreams are stuck in a mystical world, and are forced to pick a side in a deadly battle between good and evil to get home.
What I was trying to point out here is that they'd consider choosing evil. Clearly their stake is to get back home and the conflict was supposed to be to choose.
The problem, I think, is that the stakes of the series is to get home, while the stakes of this one book is to choose between helping the good or evil. The storyline for the second book is easy, but that's not going to sell this book.
I think I'll have to re-think the whole sentence and maybe approach it from different angle.
--> Write a one-sentence summary (storyline).
Maybe I could have it: Eva loves Richard and they’re stuck in a mystical world together, but when Eva meets the dark and dangerous enemy, she finds it hard to fight the attraction.
That's Eva's conflict, and she's the only PoV character in the book. The choice between good and evil is more the conflict for the group (of four) as a whole.
Today's task: Print out two copies of the book and have two obliging friends read it over one last time. Work on the full proposal - Executive Summary, to be exact - and finalize my character profiles (have most if it done already).