Last night I finished my first big revision of Hubris. There were only a couple of major changes: I had to do a complete rewrite of the critical first page, remove the second chapter and place its exposition much later in the story, and cut out about a third of one lengthy middle chapter. I ended up cutting out more than I added, so this draft is about 2500 words shorter than the last. The whole process was slow and sometimes grueling. I don’t like revising, and I never will, but it feels great to have it finished.
The manuscript is now ready (I hope) for the scrutiny of my beta readers: my girlfriend, friends, and family. We’ll see what they have to say. I’m quite proud of the story; it’s a lot more ambitious than my first two novels, and I think the end result is more accessible and compelling. But I’m way too close to the text now. I need a few outside perspectives before I can do any more work on it.
So, now I can relax and spend the next few months on my other projects, or just on reading, watching movies and playing video games. I feel like I’m on vacation.
In related news, I got a rejection letter from the agent who was interested in The Northerners. But! This was a good rejection, because he called it a “near miss” and said he liked my writing, but just wasn’t interested in this particular story. He encouraged me to send him my next novel, and I will.
So The Northerners is not likely to get published anytime soon, but all that querying was still worth it. I went from having no contacts or prospects to having two agents who explicitly asked me to send them my next book. If my beta readers really like it, including my writing-inclined acquaintances who I can count on to be demanding*, I might be querying again as soon as this summer. We shall see.* Even if you have demanding friends, your best bet for unbiased criticism is to join a writing group. One of these days I'm going to follow that advice.