Yesterday, I completed a major edit of my first novel, The Naked Truth. I like to call it a murder mystery set on the high seas. Essentially, I created a fictional story based on our sailing adventures. I didn't want to just write our story which has been done by so many. I wanted to create characters who experience something unusual, while making use of the experience of sailing through the Caribbean and across the Atlantic. I really didn't know where the story was going and how I was going to resolve it until about 3/4 of the way in.
This was my third edit. In the first edit, I caught many mistakes, fixed prose, converted prose to dialogue, and just cleaned up overall. So now I had a second version. Then I gave it to my editor (husband) to read. He edited and annotated as well as giving me a page of comments in general. I think every sentence had suggested changes.This was version 3. That was a little hard to take, but I bit the bullet and made most, not all, of the edits he suggested. He was absolutely right.
My first draft was 489 pages long in paperback size. By the 4th version I was down to 438 pages and 107,798 words. My goal had been to get down below 100,000 words. The 5th and current version got me to 409 pages and 102,325 words. My worst problem was staying consistent with tense. Because I created characters but used our actual experiences in sailing locations, it was hard not injecting myself into the story. But I think I've licked that now. I feel much better about it.
It was a good experience writing this book. Now that I've gotten my story out of the way, I can create fictional stories from scratch that aren't based on my experiences. I listed to Sebastian Barry talk about his new novel, an Irish man writing a book about two guys who realize they are gay set in the wild west a hundred years ago. He had to immerse himself in that culture before he could write convincingly in their lingo and reflect their circumstances. Brilliant.
My goal is to read my manuscript one more time and cut another 2,500 words in the final edit. No one will miss them, not even I.
Alex created lovely art work for me. The last stage will be to upload it to create space and make a page on amazon. Soon I will be a published novelist. I hope someone wants to read it. I think I will be proud.