Yesterday, I finished my final editing pass on Unnatural Causes, my fantasy novel. Just a few days ago, a memory came up in my Facebook feed announcing I had finished the first draft ... four years ago. There's been a lot of water under the bridge in that time, and as far as the book, multiple passes and a beta read. I wasn't planning on doing this final pass, but after an illuminating edit on a short story, I felt I had some new tools for tightening my prose. I also wanted to smooth out any rough edges on the new material I added on the advice of (wonderful, lovely, sagely wise) beta readers.
This was actually my first time having beta readers for the whole book (though I've had people critique sections before), and I thought I would be a lot more nervous than I was. Not to say I was chill, but something about considering the book as a whole was much easier for me. I think Unnatural Causes is a much stronger book for their comments.
The first draft was 86 thousand words - shorter than I wanted, putting me in the unusual position of wanting to add content, and more particularly *not* to cut words. This is much of why I ended up doing the final pass. I typically write in an exceedingly verbose fashion and end up trimming quite a bit. Since the original low word count of this novel discouraged cutting, I didn't do much of it until that point.\
Next step is the torture of the query letter and synopsis, and then ... Unnatural Causes is off to see if my next victim is an unsuspecting agent.