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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Final Revised Manuscript Submitted

Yesterday, June 18, was the big deadline for turning in my final, revised manuscript to Kregel. God is good, and He enabled me to e-mail the manuscript on time. Woo-hoo! This is a major project milestone for me, and I'm thrilled.

Readers may be wondering, Which manuscript is this? Here's the story. In April and May, I worked on revisions based on changes Kregel requested. The requested changes were pretty major: killing off a character, changing the direction and outcome of a pretty important subplot, adding more interaction with a character or two, etc. I had to cut about six chapters and write about as many new chapters. (Thanks goodness my chapters are short and numerous.) I worked on the revisions during some afternoons (as I could find time) but mostly on Saturdays.

I submitted my new chapters to my editor, who checked them over and gave me the thumbs up. After those new chapters were "approved," I needed to spend some time reading the full manuscript and making sure those new chapters fit into the big picture of the story. I consider my plot to be pretty complex with many threads connecting story lines to various characters. Pull one thread, and the whole thing could fall apart. I needed to make sure the threads were still connecting and making sense in light of my rewrites. So many details! If I wasn't a detail-oriented person, I could never do this type of work. I guess it's a blessing and a curse.

Over the last two weeks, I reread the full manuscript twice, tweaking places here and there, adding nuance, making little wording changes, verifying that character motivations made sense, double-checking police procedural details. (Special thanks to novelists Amy Wallace and Mark Mynheir for graciously lending their advice and answering my questions.) Sometimes I just had to follow my gut instinct. There was a lot to do and a lot to look for. (The Kregel editors will check these details, too, but I wanted to make their jobs easier.) I prayed that God would help me see what needed to change, since this was probably my last crack at major rewrites. This realization did make me feel nervous at times.

For a little while, I felt like I had read the manuscript so many times that I was losing my objectivity and ability to see what needed help. So I took a weekend off and didn't even look at the manuscript; that distance seemed to help me go back to it with fresh eyes. Either way, I've read it as carefully as I know how, trying to think everything through and put my best foot forward. Surprisingly, even yesterday I saw a plot hole I had forgotten about. Hopefully, it's plugged now. Hopefully.

Either way, the final manuscript is submitted and now out of my hands. Is it perfect? I'm sure it isn't. But it's definitely the best I could do right now with God's help, yet it is hard to let go. I struggle with the feeling that there's always something somewhere that I could have done better if only I'd had more time and done more work. But at some point every author needs to draw a line in the sand and say, "This is when the project is done" and stop working on it. Otherwise, he could be changing things forever.

I just need to let go of the project and trust the Lord for the rest. He's brought me this far. He won't fail me now.

So what's next? Now I wait to hear from my editors, who will be reading the whole manuscript again in light of the requested changes. If I missed anything or if anything doesn't measure up, they will contact me, and I'll have some more work to do. When all is good, then the manuscript formally begins the editing stage for Kregel. Their editors will begin doing their editing. If they have any questions about consistency or logic, they will contact me for changes. I'll be able to see the manuscript again, maybe even a couple times, before the printing.

Whew! That's all for now!

P.S. The latest title possibility was FATAL ILLUSIONS. I like it, but I'm not sure if that will be the final pick. Kregel had a few other possible titles, too. I also heard that my editor saw a mock-up of what the cover might look like. She said it looks fantastic, but I haven't seen it yet. I can hardly wait and feel a little nervous about seeing it.


  1. CONGRATULATIONS! What a major accomplishment! I know how hard it is to let go of the ms, and I know what you've been through.

    I was down in Ripley today. I did three talks at the elementary, showed my PowerPoint presentation, and read some passages. I also did a talk/reading/signing at the library. Get this: this book has been out for four months, so it's pretty finished, haha. So guess who was editing *as she was reading*? Haha, it never ends.

    I know Miranda likes Fatal Illusions because she told me, "The book has a Hitchcock feel to it that I like." And if they say the proposed cover looks fantastic, get ready for something spectacular! Kregel doesn't use the word 'fantastic' loosely.

    Congrats again!

  2. What a great accomplishment, Adam! Letting go of a book is like letting go of a child---it's hard.

    Can't wait to see the cover of your book. Bet that's one of the most exciting parts.

  3. Great news, Adam, and I'm proud of you for finishing off this round of editing and letting it go . . . in God's capapble hands. I know you did the best you can do and that's all anyone can ask for.

    I like the title too. Catchy. Can't wait to see the cover.

    Congratulations, brother!