Saturday, October 6, 2007




Catching My Breath

After returning from the month long Australia/New Zealand book-signing tour (and before that, the SANDWORMS OF DUNE tour, the Writers of the Future workshop and awards, and DragonCon), I'm trying to catch up.

While Brian has been gone on a long trip to Europe, he's been editing the draft of PAUL OF DUNE. I just received a message from him saying he's finished nearly 3/4 of the chapters.

Meanwhile, my main work has been doing the final revamp of Seven Suns #7, THE ASHES OF WORLDS. Just before my trip I had a four-hour meeting with my test readers, where they went over the book and gave me tons of suggestions to improve the book, to reorganize some storylines, pump up some of the intense scenes and character interactions. The day before I left, I received a long and detailed letter from my editor with her suggestions and her marked-up manuscript. I culled out all the annotated pages from the stack of manuscripts and took them with me.

I had a long time on the plane to collate all the suggestions and figure out a plan for all the revisions. Before I submit a manuscript to my cadre of readers and editors, I've done everything that I think is necessary . . . And then all the objective eyes come up with many other ideas to make the novel stronger. This is how it happens with all of my books, whether SEVEN SUNS, DUNE, CRYSTAL DOORS, LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON, SLAN HUNTER, or any of my other novels.

During my month in Australia and New Zealand, I incorporated all of the quick suggestions on all the manuscripts, then got to the real meat of the rewrite, reorganizing dozens of the 175 chapters, figuring out new chapters to be added, determining which ones were only deadwood and served no real purpose. Then, an hour here and an hour there while doing book signings and lectures from Christchurch to Auckland to Brisbane to Perth to Adelaide to Melbourne to Sydney to Canberra, I dictated and transcribed 12 new chapters and eliminated six, rewrote scenes, changed character interactions, and added a lot of intense action to the climax -- the Grand Finale of a 5000-page continuous story I've been working on since 1999.

Somehow, I managed to complete the surgery by the time I came home. Now in my three weeks here, I have to go over the manuscript line by line -- twice, I hope -- before I absolutely, positively, have to turn it in to the publisher for production on November 1. Rebecca is also giving it her final edit in that time -- and it sure doesn't help being laid up for days with the worst cold/flu I've had in ten years.

But it's almost done, and this draft is far improved over the previous version.

And in 17 days, I start my LAST DAYS OF KRYPTON tour.

-- KJA


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