the joys of proofing
The title is ironic. There is no such thing as joyful proof reading. Two weekends = two lots of proof reading of the near final copy of the second novel The Penitentiary. And I am not a particularly good proof reader.
Despite my best efforts as the author AND the eye of the professional proof readers who formatted the book, I expect I will still find a typo or a random comma somewhere in the text when the book is pubished. I can live with that.
What would trouble me more is if there was an internal inconsistency in the story itself so I spent far more of the last two weekends checking and rechecking my major plot events timelines. It needs to be consistent both within each novel and across the novels that will make up the series. It is amazing how difficult this is to do. The more I write, the more I realise just how much planning and mapping there needs to be, especially for fantasy fiction. My work has involved Excel spreadsheets, scene by scene mapping and then checking the maps across the novels too.
My novels are short in the genre relatively speaking (though still entirely acceptable within published literature guidelines). At around the 300 page mark (or 100,000 words), The Penitentiary is only a third of the length of some fantasy novels I have read. I shudder to think how much planning is required for those epics!
The more enjoyable task of proofing, more editing really, has been to read through the first draft of the third novel before submitting it for the first formal edit. I actually edit as I write, looking over scenes the day after I have written them to tidy the prose and revisiting on a regular basis as the story unfolds to ensure the links across the story arc are correct. But there is a certain (actual) joy in reading from start to finish and seeing how the whole story hangs together. (I changed bits and pieces here and there including the last scene to fix the loose ends.) I was pleased to see my overall writing has improved from novel two to three - it is always reassuring to see there is a learning curve and it is on an upward trajectory!
I rewarded myself by reading some fantasy fiction - the sublime Game of Thrones.
Next week I return to the drafting of the prequel, starting with revisiting the "map" and adjusting it for all the new and interesting ideas emerging from the other novels already drafted in the series.