Hey book lovers,

So if you couldn’t already tell from the title of this post… I have some big, big news to share. As of last night, Friday the 9th of September 2016, at around midnight, I finished the very final draft of my young adult novel. My first big, final draft of a novel so far.

Around this time last year, I undertook a unit while at university, where I could choose to do anything that related to working in a chosen field, called Professional Practices. We could work in a place and make our assignments- a presentation and an essay- about the entire process, or we could send off a piece of writing to  an outlet, or teach a class in a school, for example. Anything we chose, really. Well, since I had already written most of this novel so far by then, I decided to try to get it into shape and begin sending it out to some agents and publishers by the time it was due, a couple of months away, and use this process for my assignments. I loved this assignment, (apart from the presentation- I don’t do public speaking very well and I was so nervous) but I learned a lot from it all.

I was quite lucky- I looked into different agents I wanted to submit to, agents who would take a young adult novel of its premise, and one publisher who took unsolicited (or unagented) manuscripts. This was where I found the editor at one of the big publishing houses, who gave me a really lovely response, and I used her feedback to change the entire novel, for months afterwards. I’m so, so glad I did. Last time, I think I rushed the process a little more than I should have, wanting to get it ready straight away. But this time, I asked for feedback from some of my closest friends, including Danny from work, who has helped me out a lot with his thoughts on it, and also Dean, who has given me detailed feedback on a few of the chapters. Well, I gave myself a deadline for the time I wanted to have it finished, and as I went through each of the chapters, I tried to take my time. I tried to look at the sentence structure, the description used of the characters and setting, how the plot fits in with the entire book- whether each individual scene was needed or not. It was a long and difficult process, one which you had to have your head in the right place for. You have to concentrate, and know what changes you’ve made in the past and why, and what changes you were intending to make, and implement these as best you possibly can.

My deadline for completing this last edit was the end of October. This would have been a year after I sent the novel to the editor, who had offered to look at it again if I made certain changes. Well, on my days off work, I’ve been sitting at home for about eight or nine hours at a time (no exaggeration), on some days, and then working my butt off at trying to get it written as well as I can, using the skills I acquired in my Special Project at university, from my lecturer, Lesley, as well as Keith and Tim. I’ll always be grateful for your help here, and I’ve learned a lot! I just hope I’ve also done it well enough with this one. Anyway, I was becoming near to finishing this one yesterday, but by the time I reached chapter 25 or 26 (of chapter 28), I knew I wasn’t going to bed until I’d gotten it all finished. Maybe that’s just me- I couldn’t sleep on it, I was far too excited! And last night I wrote out my reply query, and this morning I typed it up, and sent it across. I won’t hear back for a couple of weeks at least, but when she replied last time, she was pretty damn quick, so I am rather excited about that.

I may do more posts like this, because it’s nice to reflect about it all on here, and hopefully for anyone who is writing a novel and nearing this process, maybe give some advice, too. But like anything, it just takes practice- and with a lot of things in my life right now, it seems- I’m still learning!

So now I’m in the process of looking for agents and publishers to submit to, and perhaps later, I’ll have more updates to give. But I have to admit, now, it’s all pretty damn exciting.

See you next time,

April

xx

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