I’ve read Nothing Ever Happens Here, my current novel, at least 23 times before you, as readers ever see it. That means beginning to end. From the first draft to the moment when I superstitiously write The End and sent it off. I suspect most authors do.
I notice different errors and lapses with each reading. In the first draft, I notice how flimsy the plot appears and how my characters jerk and twitch into life the way crash dummies do. I can fix all this, and I do. Subsequent readings aren’t quite so painful as slowly the characters in my head become people in a story somebody else might like to read.
I read it over and over because an alteration in a segment halfway through means returning to the beginning to set it up. Or another reading because a different path to the ending makes the story better.
I have the advantage of processing my novel through a critique group of two other writers in Ottawa. We’ve been meeting every two weeks (mostly by zoom) for three years and know each other’s styles well. What they have to say is important to me and I make changes. What can also happen is that my characters, who are as familiar to me as my heartbeat, nudge me in another direction than I had in mind. Another revision and re-read.
Much later, I’m ready to turn the manuscript over to a professional editor, someone I pay a lot of money to for an opinion. They never say, “Oh darling, it’s perfect. Don’t change a word.” Ha!
In my case, I pay for the editor’s second reading to judge whether the revisions have improved the story. Then reread it and make changes. Then turn it over to a proof-reader. Then check that the proof-reader has picked up all the changes correctly.
I am an independent, and I use Amazon’s publication services. The finished book comes back to me as an EBook. It astonishes me, reading it yet again, start to finish that I still find errors. Here is the first book in this series, Payback.
I hope you’ll read and review Nothing Ever Happens Here, set in the mountain village in California somewhat like where I lived for nearly 20 happy years.