I’ve finally completed the last major revisions to “Passage,” my fantasy novel, and have just made a print-out, in order to do a final read-through to catch any errors that made it through several rounds of revisions — because truth be told nothing can beat having a print out. Errors stick out more on a print-out than when staring at a computer screen. You also have the ability to scribble notes in the margins, which for whatever reason seem to flow more effortlessly from one’s mind to one’s hand and onto the page when compared to comment bubbles in word processors.
There is just a closeness with a print-out that is missing when sitting in front of a computer. Writers also risk skimming over errors while editing in a word processor or even worse unintentionally introducing new errors to their manuscript (I know I have experienced this, a missed key here or an accidental hit of another key, etc.). When polishing a manuscript, it is important to eliminate as many mistakes as possible; after all, a manuscript laden with errors is not bound to make it very far.
I am looking forward to my final read-through, especially since it will be my first time just reading through without a chapter by chapter approach, in addition to not making any major revisions. This time I’m looking at the entirety of the novel, looking for grammatical errors, awkward wording, continuity errors, etc. To help me along, I’m using highlighters, numbered lines, a notebook, and of course, my trusty red pen.
The numbered lines will allow me to make detailed notes about sections that are still not quite what they should be in my notebook while colored highlighters will point out instances of continuity errors, sections where a character is not quite the way they should be, or areas that are still not up to snuff. And of course, the red pen is for about everything else. Hopefully, when all is said and done, my manuscript won’t be too colorful.
Once the read-through is complete and changes incorporated into the manuscript, I will begin the agent querying process with the hopes of being published by a traditional publisher. I decided to go this route since a majority of fantasy publishers no longer accept unsolicited manuscripts, and at the publishing firms that do accept them, manuscripts automatically go into the slush pile, where it will have to go against great odds to catch notice.
Self-publishing is another option that has become more viable nowadays and in some cases has even proved successful, especially with the advent of e-books and social media. However, I want to try the traditional route first, and give myself more time research self-publishing in depth. In the meanwhile, I will share my experiences as I start navigating the publishing industry.