This past week, I turned in the edited manuscript of my novel The Astronomer’s Crypt. This first pass edit was a very detailed line edit, in which Joanna D’Angelo looked at my plot, narrative structure, and overall pacing. In some cases she suggested detailed changes. In other places she requested that I look at a section again and revise. One thing that was interesting about the process is that even though several relatively large sections were cut out entirely because they rambled on too long, the novel actually ended up being nearly 5000 words longer after the edit.
The biggest changes in the story happened near the end, but none of those changes really affect the overall narrative. It’s challenging to discuss details without delving into spoiler territory, but I can say that I wasn’t entirely happy with the big climactic scene in which our heroes are fighting for their lives against a Native American spirit from the dawn of time. One of the characters defends himself using items found around an observatory, but when I wrote it the first time, I struggled with making it sound exciting and I think that struggle showed. My editor asked for that scene to be rewritten. Fortunately, after I turned in the novel, the safety manual at the observatory gave me an idea for how to make that climactic scene much stronger. Basically, it says not to do this:
Another part of the novel I completely rewrote was the epilogue. I intend The Astronomer’s Crypt to be the first novel in a trilogy set around the fictional town of Toledo, New Mexico. My original idea was that the epilogue would be a virtual hand-off from the protagonist of the first novel to the protagonist of the second novel, so the epilogue was told entirely from the viewpoint of that second character. My editor suggested that since the novel opened from the point of view of telescope operator Mike Teter, it should end with his point of view as well. Between her suggestion and my own thoughts, I came up with a better hand-off, that gave the novel an overall more complete feeling than I had before.
At this point, I hope my editor likes the way I approached her requests. I expect to see the manuscript back at least one more time before publication, probably with a more detailed copy edit that will double check all words are spelled correctly and my commas are well placed, etc. Since I’m working with a different editorial team at Lachesis Publishing than I have with my previous novels, I’m not quite sure what the workflow will be like—whether I’ll see the novel formatted for ebook or if it’ll still be more of a manuscript format. Either way, I’m one step closer to publication and expect the novel is still on track for publication in the first half of 2016.