I have over 67,000 words written and edited in my African tale. That hails from the 97 original posts I wrote over at A New Day. I have added a Table of Contents, Chapter headings and subheadings, plus done extensive edits on the many words that I first started to pen back in 2010.
And on this round of edits I am only on page 70. My page count suggests that there are 270 pages, but I know that number will change the longer I fiddle with the story.
For every paragraph I re-read, I seem to add nuances, at the same time that I take away pieces which don’t work anymore. All while I recite the story aloud over and over again. That is the process which helps the most. As I read sentences aloud, I can hear what sounds awkward or cumbersome. I am better able to recognize when I have used certain words too often per paragraph or repeated them too close together in a sentence. Sometimes you miss those faux pas in the first draft. And in the second.
For those unfamiliar with the tale, I travelled throughout Africa in 1995-96. At points I backpacked, hitchhiked, paddled and zipped along in a ’71 baby blue Kombi on a path which meandered as much as my mind. Upon my return, I started to recount the tale at various points with no success. It wasn’t until I started to retell the story on my blog that I found my stride. I had an audience who was enchanted with the tale and it kept the words from floundering into oblivion. I set a schedule to write an excerpt from my wanders once a week. And it worked. In this way, the story finally came to fruition.
The story is 100% true. It is a travel memoir that I am proud of and hope to see completed with the addition of pictures at some point. If I am lucky and persevere, perhaps a publisher will be proud to put it into print one day for me too. And while I know that some can dash off a story in a short time period and edit it not long after that, I’m doing my best not to get discouraged by my long-term project. There are plenty of other authors who have toiled over their manuscripts far longer than I. At least that is what I like to tell myself.
So the question I put to YOU today is, who amongst you are willing to be beta-readers? Is there anyone up for a little read to see if the first 15-20 pages make you want to read further? 🙂