It's official: Book 2 went into its first stasis/perk cycle as of 8:58 a.m. Atlantic Time on Monday, November 4th, 2013.
I wasn't doing great after I closed it. I started getting jumpy, feeling out of sorts and wanted to open it and work on it, but I couldn't, not if I wanted to let it sit for a while and let it fade from my memory so I could edit it properly when the time is right. It's a hard thing to do when you suddenly set aside a project that has consumed your life for a while, even only a few months like Book 2 did with me, but you have to do it, if you want to be able to catch any errors that you had missed during the time you were working on it. My mentor has told me several times that sometimes the mind will automatically fill in a missing word or comma, etc, and you don't catch it until later on, sometimes after it's published. People who haven't read the work will notice it but you won't, because your mind is correcting it unconsciously.
She is right. I was noticing my mind was doing that with Book 1/No Regrets, and now that it's gone through not one, but several perk cycles, I was seeing errors galore in it, even after letting it perk for only a week or two.
I wasn't seeing many errors in Book 2 during the last few edits on it before I finished it, and that was telling me it really needed to be set aside for a while before I attacked Draft 2 and made all of the changes and other things I need to do on it to get it closer to perfect. I'm not doing them right now. The story itself is too fresh in the mind to start it and I want it to perk for a while before I start doing anything related to it. So, during the last read through of its entire document, I took notes in a separate file and highlighted areas in its Draft 2 file that need to be changed. They're color coded, so I can easily find what needs to be compressed, rewritten, 86'ed, and so on when the time is right.
Since I wasn't feeling the best yesterday and it felt weird having nothing open writing wise on the taskbar, I decided that it was time to relax and do one last read through of Book 1/No Regrets, so I could see if there were any more errors in it, and to see if everything flowed smoothly. Of course, the one day where I needed to block everything out and not have any distractions is the time I get flooded with them. *SIGH* Out of the first six hours I had Book 1 open on the taskbar yesterday, I didn't make it past the middle of Chapter 2. It wasn't until I literally started losing it around Sanctuary and with some people in Facebook (as in babbling nonsense and laughing at stuff that wasn't really funny!) that things finally settled down, and I was able to carry on for a bit. I gave up at the start of Chapter Four, due to homework time for Son approaching and the fact that I was too jumpy and distracted to continue.
Today, I'm a little better. I'm deeper into the last edit/read through, and even with a few gallons of coffee in me, I'm not so jumpy right now. Maybe doing what I did by holding back on sending Book 1 out to publishers wasn't a bad idea after all, even though I had originally wanted to have it sent out by the time it was a year since I finished its first draft... That was on October 19th, but I kind of missed that self set deadline. Oh, well. At least I'm getting it ready now and hopefully won't be too out of it when I finally do get it sent out. (Reminder: Only a few people will know when and where it goes, and if I get rejected. I won't say it publicly because I do not want to disappoint a lot of people!)
That said, I'm only on Chapter Seven of the final run through of No Regrets/Book 1 right now. I'm going over it with an ultra fine toothed comb, to be sure I didn't miss anything at all. I am still seeing a few missing commas and words here and there, and seeing a few spots where the wording can be changed around or compressed a little, and I'm doing all of it as I go.
I'm hoping to have this last run through of Book 1/No Regrets' final draft done by the 23rd, which is the American Thanksgiving. With a little luck, I'll be done long before that and my mentor, Sandra, will have the fully updated draft in her inbox, for her enjoyment, and to see if I missed anything on the last few readings of it. She really enjoyed an earlier draft of it, so I hope she likes the updated version of it, which includes a few extras to fully line things up with what goes on in Book 2's story. I'm not saying what those changes are, she knows what they are because she helped me with not only them, the entire story of Book 2 and parts of Book 1/No Regrets. She has been there with me since I first got the idea for Book 1/No Regrets, and I trust her fully with it. It's thanks to her ideas for it and shooting both the original idea *and* the big scary part of Book 2 at me that I was able to keep going and really get into both books. She's done the same with me and her work, including talking to me about her fourth book, which is currently "under production", and she knows if she needs to brainstorm, I'm there and will do my best to help her with it like she helped me with my two books.
Others have helped me and encouraged me too... One of my best friends, my "Peapod" and twin sister-soul mate, who I met on a large spiritual forum, helped me get the first love scene in Book 1/No Regrets perfected. I was online, talking to her privately when I did the full rewrite on that section, and thanks to her help, that particular scene and the teaser that eventually leads into it were perfected. What is in the final draft of No Regrets/Book 1 is pretty much what I had written that night, with the verb tense corrected that is. (Don't get me started on how horrible my verb tense was in the first draft of the first 37 chapters of that book in draft one!)
I had several friends and others read snippets of Book 1/No Regrets over time, and thanks to everyone's help, I have managed to see what I was doing wrong, was I was getting right, and my strengths and weaknesses. Dialogue was never my strong point, it was one of the weakest (or as I called it, my "Achilles Hell") and after a while, I noticed it was easier to write, thanks to some brutally honest criticism and encouragement from my mentor, my Peapod and so many others out there.
No one knows just how much I appreciate everything... From the big boosts and brainstorming, like the ones I got from Sandra, Peapod and a few others, to the smallest things like only a smile of encouragement. It all helped me get to this point, and I'm grateful for every single word, gesture and hug sent to me over the last two and a half years, ever since Book 1/No Regrets started to take over almost every aspect of my life.
So, although the crash back to reality did hit me somewhat hard this time, it's not as bad as it was last year when I finally set Book 1/No Regrets aside to perk for a while. It could be because I have something to do other than twiddle the thumbs and attack a thousand dreamcatcher kits while I drive my husband and my poor trusted best friends nuts, or try to get into another writing project before the writing batteries are fully recharged. I admit, both books took a lot out of me, because I was so absorbed in them and the fact that Book 2's story was a difficult story to write by times considering the nature of it, and it will be a while before I can even consider diving head first into another writing project, not even one I have from the time before No Regrets was conceived. Yes, the RH overhaul has been put aside yet again and I'm wondering if I'll ever get it published, or done for that matter. It's hard to say. The No Regrets/FP series is still pretty fresh in my mind at this time, and until the urge to write yet another sequel to it is gone and I feel I can move on from it, I don't see anything new happening writing wise for a while. Folks, I've lived with some of these characters in my head for over two years, and sometimes it's really hard to let go of them, even if you wrote only one book about them and their lives. (I'm sure others will get what I mean!) It's a rough thing to say goodbye to them, although I know it's time to move on with new characters, new stories and other mysteries and twists and turns that not even I expect to happen, whether my brain wants to or not. Believe me, sometimes it doesn't want to let go and I have to distract myself with something like a movie or an episode of one of my favorite shows until the brain relaxes again. It's hard to do, but I have to do it, if I want to write anything other than stories about this dynamic, fun and interesting group of characters.
I hope all of you have a great week, and hopefully I'll be able to alert my "writing buddies" via FB that I have sent No Regrets off to a publisher finally, sometime soon. It's time to start showing off that particular baby, and pray that someone out there gives me a chance.
Thanks again to all who have supported me. Love you all!