I've spent the last few weeks working on the first round of edits on Ashael Rising. Now, I need to start by saying that I didn't actually have that much work to do. My editor was really pleased with the manuscript and most of what he asked for was extra background and details, some of which I had previously drafted and then cut out to save words. So, comparatively speaking, I got off very lightly. I also want to make clear that at this point I'm talking about content editing and not copyediting - although I do a bit of that on every pass I do anyway. You would be amazed at how many repeated words, over-used pronouns and unnecessary adverbs manage to sneak past you. But this pass was all about content and structure.
Like I said, there were only a few changes to make but those small changes had a knock-on effect throughout the entire manuscript and that's what I found to be the real challenge. It's so time-consuming, and time is at a premium.
I'm a very off-the-cuff writer, a pantser of the highest degree. Which means I don't have a nice neat outline (I have a very rough draft of an outline of the entire series but it really just hits the key events, and even those can change as I'm writing. My friend and fellow Unbound Author, Natalie Fergie, recently made changes to her manuscript that she had beautifully organised with different scenes on sticky notes. I envy Natalie's organisation. I wish I could be more like her.
So far, I'm not. Maybe some of that will come with greater experience. At the moment though, that means that for every small change I made, I had to read through the manuscript looking for consistency and any knock-on effects. There are almost certainly easier ways to do this. If you have any hints and tips, I'd love to hear about them in the comments!
I am very excited about some of the changes I was able to make, my favourite being a whole new chapter where we get to see the culture the antagonist comes from and get more insight into why he is the way he is. I also got to add in a bit more of the history of KalaDene, the world the book is set on, which was fantastic.
One of the things my editor suggested was trying to give more of a sense of the geography of the wider world, as most of the action in this first book takes place over a relatively small space. I've been considering the idea of trying my hand at a map but I'm not at all an artist so I'm mot sure where to start. What do you think? Do you like to have a map in your fantasy books? Can you recommend a way to produce a simple but effective map? Let me know in the comments!