It's done! I can officially say I have authored three novels. This afternoon I wrote the last words on Reinventing Rachel, a book I started so long ago that I can't remember exactly when. It's the first of at least two books I'll be publishing with David C. Cook, and is set to release sometime next year. Final stats: 192 single-spaced pages in 12-point Lucida Grande font, 89,490 words.
It's been the most difficult book to write so far because of the lack of consistency in my writing schedule and other little things like having a baby. :) I'd sometimes go weeks between writing opportunities, which made it difficult to keep track of what was going on plot-wise and really messed with detail continuity. The major lesson learned from this book is that I must have a writing schedule that allows me to write at least every other day. Given that my next book is due in March and I've not even outlined it yet, I'm going to have to really keep to that schedule to get it done in time.
I'm trying something new with this book as well, in terms of my approach to the craft. I'm going to completely set this book aside, start working on my researching and outlining for the next project, and then come back to it around August to edit. With my last two books the editing was funky: With Worlds Collide I didn't know what I was doing, and I was more concerned with cutting words (they wanted me to slash forty thousand words! I managed twenty thousand and luckily they were okay with that) than with tightening story or working on word crafting. With Violette Between I scrapped the entire manuscript, save for one scene, three months before my deadline, so all I was concerned about was getting the thing written, and again, there was no time to actually work on the crafting. This time I have time to spare, and I want to use it wisely. I'm going to have a few pros read through it and look at specific areas I want to work on so I can get their feedback and suggestions, and then in August I'm going to go through the whole thing myself on paper, rather than on the computer, and make the changes they suggest as well as look for things I want to improve. I'm also going to take some time over the summer go to through Self-Editing for Fiction Writers so I can work on my editing skills. It's so much easier to work on someone else's stuff; I really need to work on looking at my own work with a critical editor's lens.
But for now, this week, I'm taking a break from writing entirely. Well, from writing books, anyway. I'm going to be collaborating with someone on an article that we can hopefully get in some local papers about the loss of choice women in Orange County are facing due to the closing of the only maternity ward in the county that allows midwives to deliver. We're hoping to get at least one local hospital to bring these midwives on, though ideally they'd get privileges at all the area hospitals. I'm also going to work on Penny Jane's journal. I'm keeping a journal for both girls, talking about their development, my thoughts on what it's like to be their mother, etc., and I haven't even started Penny's yet! I need to update Abby's as well. And I'm going to read a lot this week, too. My book club is reading My Antonia this month, and my friend Meg and I are reading through Desiring God by John Piper. I'm reading the introduction right now and it's fascinating. It's about "Christian Hedonism." If the rest of the book is anything like the intro, I'm going to love it. And I'm going to have lots of time to read, too--we're going to Ventura on Thursday and staying through Father's Day, which means Abby will be off frolicking in the garden and den with Greena and Par and I will be free to read to my heart's content! Throw in one last pass through a manuscript we're editing and I've got a pretty full week, but one I'm looking forward to because I'm doing it all without my book hanging over my head.