The first draft and what happens next


The first Draft of my Fantasy novel, The Syk’m is complete.

At 65,000 words, I don’t think that the novel is finished. I might have got all the plot and action in, there’s a satisfactory ending but there are still things to be done. I reckon it needs a lot more work (and words) before it can truly be called the final version. But it’s at the stage where its time for my editor to take a first look.

Then I want people to read it and tell me their thoughts about the structure and general readability of the story. Armed with their thoughts, I can set out on the process of revising and improving it.

You might think it strange that my editor takes a look at an unfinished manuscript. There’s a reason. Unlike a lot of editors, mine works in a different way. Instead of her having the manuscript once, she will take a look two or three times during the development cycle, performing a single pass edit and adding her observations and suggestions each time.

I prefer this way of working as it gives the story a chance to grow and for me to incorporate feedback from beta readers, as well as my own additions, before the final edit. 

The words are just one part of the finished product, in some ways they’re the easiest part to produce. It’s what comes next that’s the tricky bit.

I have to find an artist to create the perfect cover for me. It needs to reinforce my brand, line up with the rest of my covers and yet be different enough to indicate that, even though the genre is not what I’m best known for, the story is one of mine. While giving the potential purchaser the feeling that they just have to click the buy button.

This is my first time writing about magic and fantastic (non-human, yet sentient) creatures on alien worlds. The whole package has to be structurally sound and consistent, as well as being plausible enough to make you want to invest your time in it.

Here is the latest version of the hook.

The Syk’m were a mythical race, their name invoked to frighten children. What if they were real?

Does that pique your interest?

You can read Chapter One here


Following the first edit, the book will be available for beta reads, if you’re interested, please comment below.

Meanwhile, like a shark who cannot stop moving, I’m getting on with my next project. More about that in another post.



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2 Responses

  1. Chris L Adams

    Sounds a bit like my own process, Richard. Back before I had beta readers, I would simply read and reread my draft, changing where I thought necessary, occasionally adding in bits that popped in my head. But since I was the originator and the only one reading it, I would miss things that might be obvious to others. I finally found some good proof-of-concept readers who aren’t afraid of asking questions and pointing out any silliness. It certainly helps to fashion a much stronger novel.

    • Richard Dee

      My beta readers are fantastic, they know the way my series develop as well as I do. And they pick up the continuity errors I miss. Their help is invaluable.

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