Desert Island Castaway

Spring Break is nearly over and I’m back from my annual father-daughter desert island getaway in the BVI.

It was awesome. The weather was hot and dry. The ocean felt like bathwater. Virgin Gorda is truly a tropical paradise, but it’s not for everyone. There are bugs. There is no air conditioning. The living is rustic. This is the island’s charm.

There is also nothing to do, which is part of the island’s charm as well (unless you are the kind of person – like my husband – who requires activities). You go to read, eat, sleep, and swim. It gets so hot in the middle of the day that none of these activities are feasible, but sitting in front of a fan in the shade and writing is a nice way to wait for the sun to go down. Thus, I got a ton of editing done on ABSENT. This is good because I’ve got two writing retreats coming up for which I need to turn to other (new) projects.

I plan to update the blog and write some new book reviews soon, but right now I’ve got some serious course prep to catch up on. In the meantime, here’s a few pictures from my trip which you can either enjoy or hate, depending on how cold and miserable it still is where you live 😉

ABSENT is, at last, present

Yesterday afternoon I finished the most recent (and hopefully final) major revisions to ABSENT, my archaeological time travel novel. It clocks in at 95,700 words. This version was the third full rewrite of the book, coming on the heels of an extensive round of reader feedback.

There’s no denying this is an important milestone in the life of the project, but finishing up yesterday felt anti-climatic–I suppose because I’m still facing down several editing passes.

I’ll do one for word and sentence level issues (10% Solution-style), one for character consistency and body language, and one for white-room correction and description issues. One section of the book is set in the 1920’s so I’ll also do a sub-pass on that section for period details. Then the novel will go out to a smaller group of readers for minor tweaks and, barring large plot-level issues cropping up, I’ll start prepping it for agents.

I have to say that while it might have felt like a non-event yesterday, being done with the rewrite portion of the draft feels pretty fab this morning–as if a hairy, three-toed monster with six eyes and bad breath has finally been banished from where he was lurking over my shoulder. This revision took longer than I planned or wanted, and I have a number of other projects in varying stages of completion that have long been angling for my attention. It’s glorious to know I’ll be able to turn to them soon.

Spring break starts at the end of this week, which means I’ve got seven days of beach time coming up. This beach, to be exact:

Spring Bay Beach, BVI
Spring Bay Beach, BVI

This offers the perfect editing deadline to shoot for, as well as the perfect opportunity to load the finished draft on my Nook and give it a proper look for readability. Plus, if I identify serious problems, there’s always a bottle of Caribe to drown my sorrows in 😉

So, yes, at long last I am done with major rewrites on ABSENT. I would be amiss if I didn’t give a shout-out to my Beta readers. The changes I’ve made to the novel are substantial and many were inspired by the insightful feedback I received on the previous draft. So, thank you Steve, Cath, George, Micah, Christian, Eric, Kris, Barbara, and Phil — as well as my crit groups from the Vegas workshop and Paradise Lost II.

Okay. So, my reward for finishing the draft is a weekend spent grading exams, followed by heavy manuscript editing…thus, no time to waste!

Back to work.