Yay Me – Novel Work

This edition of Yay Me is focused on a project I recently completed for a longtime client.

And, let me just say, I use the word ‘completed’ loosely. It seems there’s always something left to be done with this client. He has multiple projects going at all times, and that’s fine with me. It makes the work more interesting because there’s such a great variety. And I can’t discuss this particular project in great detail, due to an NDA I signed. However, I’m thrilled to have finished a very long fiction project for him that truly challenged me.

I’m a storyteller at heart. But my degree is in magazine journalism. I’m used to writing feature articles and business profiles, as well as website copy and other non-fiction works. But this guy loves fiction. And that’s something I’d love to write more of, if I wasn’t so busy writing feature articles, and business profiles, and … you get the idea. A girl’s gotta pay the bills, right?

Several months ago, he asked me to work on a novel. I believe this is the fourth novel he’s given me. Sometimes, he writes them. Sometimes, he has someone else write them. For this project, he’d had two people submit a version. One was very brief, only a few scenes, and relatively well written. Not too many grammar, spelling, or punctuation errors. The main problem was that it didn’t tell the whole story. The other version was considerably longer – novel length, in fact. The problem was that it was riddled with errors to the point that I nearly gave up. It took me forever to read it because I kept getting confused. Characters’ names changed partway through the book. Tense shifted constantly. A narrator showed up about 19 chapters into the whole thing.

It was a tremendous task just to get through the first pass. Then I had to write out a character list so I could have a scorecard of sorts, in order to keep everyone straight. Next, I had to pick and choose which events and elements to keep, and which to cut. Add to that a ton of editing and proofreading to smooth out the rough edges. (Goodbye, sudden narrator.) Finally, I wound up writing several scenes and chapters of my own to propel the plot successfully from Point A to Point B.

One additional challenge: He only pays me for a set number of hours each month. That means that when that time’s up, I’m done working for the month. Sometimes, I’d get going on a plot twist and have to set it aside until the next month. And, along the way, he’d have other projects and tasks for me to complete. This novel was the back burner project for quite a while. And then, it was the top priority.

It took me much longer than I anticipated, but I finally finished that sucker about a week ago. Just in time for my client to head out for some travels. It’s still not ‘complete,’ as I mentioned, but at least now he can see what the finished project might look like, assuming he wants to acquiesce to the changes I’ve suggested. It’s all in his hands now.

I’ll admit that it was a little bittersweet to wrap it up, but it felt good to write that email, attach the document, and hit Send.

What are some of your recent accomplishments?