Murphy was right. If anything can go wrong, it will. At least when it comes to publishing Fabric of the World. When the manuscript was ready, we sent it to the publisher, and got our proof copy back in time for the original "publish-by" goal of mid-October. There was one huge problem. The pages were formatted backward (right pages on the left, and left pages on the right) and the book started on the wrong side of the page. I learned a lot about formatting while solving that problem, and we noticed several other mistakes too. So we fixed the other mistakes, fixed the formatting problem, and resubmitted the book.
The original colors we'd used on the cover were...not in the same places, but we liked the second cover better, anyway, with its lighter color.
When the second proof copy arrived, we had somehow missed an entire blank page right in the middle of the book...which we contemplated just living with and blaming on the printer...but then we discovered we'd also spelled our hero's name wrong, right on the back cover. That wouldn't do, so more changes were made, and another proof copy was ordered. Finally! Well, I won't go so far as to call it "perfect", because I'm sure there are mistakes hiding in there somewhere, but I'm not going to go looking for them. The book is available for sale. (Go over to the website and you can get the book from the Ye Olde Book Shoppe page.)
In 2006, I never dreamed I would have come so far in my writing just three short years. A letterboxing friend, Brandy, casually mentioned on the message board that she was participating in something called NaNoWriMo. She challenged others to join her.
Doubtful I could complete the challenge in time, because 50,000 words seemed like a lot, and also because I have a tendency to get stuck about three-quarters of the way through a book, and rely on my partner to un-stick me, (and partners aren't allowed at NaNo), I still jumped in with both feet, and eyes tightly shut.
I hit 50K in November, and finished Fabric in December, and decided I was going to try this NaNo thing again the next year.
NaNoWriMo has given me more confidence in my writing, as well as more volume. Although Tanella's Flight took thirteen years from first meeting the characters to publication, Fabric of the World has accomplished all the same steps in only three years and one month.
Writing fast is a true challenge. You go off on tangents, and you're certain they will be "darlings" that will be cut from the book later. Later comes, and you discover the tangent was a necessary thing for the plot...not something you ever imagined would be there, but a part of their life the character tells you needs to be included.
I am glad I have learned the art of creating realistic characters, and then listening to them tell their story.
My partner's 2006 NaNo novel is called Deadly Gamble, and we expect it to be published sometime this spring.
Our 2007 NaNo stories never materialized, since we had an opportunity to go to England that November and didn't get much writing done. Our 2008 novels await in our computers. My partner's is not quite finished yet, and will be published some time in the future, but there are other stories ahead of it in line. Mine took a left turn and ended up being fan fiction. Although it's a fun read, it will never see the light of day.
And 2009? We're well on our way to finishing on time. My novel includes telepaths, ciphers, an expensive bracelet, and a plot to take over the world. I don't know much about my partner's story, but I can share that her main character sees streams of words floating in the air, and though most people think she's just a little bit crazy, I'm sure her talent will prove most valuable in the end.
For now, rest assured that we're writing like mad (It is November, after all!), and enjoy reading Fabric of the World!