There really is something about completing another round of revisions and ticking up the number on your draft. In this case, from 7 to 8. My agent and I are planning another round of submissions next week and it's one I'm super excited about. The last draft of Book 1, REMOVED, was really great. The story was tight and there was a lot of potential there that could easily capture the attention of an interested editor. It had some lazy writing in a few spots, but overall, I still think it was completely ready for submissions.
But this draft is special. I hadn't touched Book 1 since April of last year! And in the time since, I have worked on 3 other books in the series. I've learned a lot about being an active writer, not a passive one, and my eye for revising has become even more critical. I also know more about my characters and where their actions ultimately take them. It's like seeing into the future and knowing what I can change in the past to make everything fit in the puzzle perfectly.
For this draft, I eliminated a lot of repetitive phasing and words. The word “look” was heavily over-used in my last draft and I've all but gotten rid of it unless it's being used in an active construction. I combined a few scenes and condensed some others. I didn't touch any of the major plot points but merged a few minor ones and clarified some history (Sanaa's past romantic failures being the biggest one). I rearranged some material in the two parts to balance them out better. It was a lot of work! All in all, I shaved 5700 words off the total word count. My goal was 5000-8000 cut, so I came within goal.
I'd call this one a success! I'm compiling it to PDF and rechecking my work right now. Then off to my agent and on to submissions next week!
This round of submissions is being spurred on by SCBWI's Winter Conference this weekend in NYC! I'll be there, and I have 3 editors I really want to meet and hoping to meet a few others as well. They are people I want to read my work and I think will be interested in it. Fingers crossed!
And most of all, I can't wait to see my author buddies that I met last year in PA. I've missed them and our chats and the laughter we share. If you'll be at the conference, I'll be tweeting from @spajonas so let's meet and say hi! I love meeting new people :)