Pleased with myself for having finished the first draft of ‘Consorts of Heaven’ ahead of schedule, my plan for the rest of the year had been to catch up on some neglected short story admin, then devote a bit of time to non-writing related stuff (like cleaning the house). In the week up to Christmas I hoped to make inroads into my ‘to read’ pile, watch trashy DVDs and generally chill out.
My editor, however, had other ideas, and a week ago today sent me the copy-edited manuscript ‘Principles of Angels’. Not that I’m complaining – far from it. The timing was perfect, as I didn’t need to interrupt any other projects and could get a straight run at the job.
Though the two books are set in the same universe, and they do link up, each has a distinctive ‘feel’. So my first task was to change the musical selection in my garret: out went the gentler, atmospheric music I’d had for CoH – Kate Bush, Philip Glass, Alan Stivell and assorted English and Celtic folk – and in came louder, faster stuff more suitable for PoA – Bowie, Shriekback, Dead Can Dance, Prodigy and assorted up-tempo grunge.
With the soundtrack sorted I then got stuck in. I’m pleased to say I got to the end of the mss last night, and have managed to apply all the requested changes, plus putting in a few last tweaks of my own. I’ve now printed it out for a last look through. I’ve done this partly because Word’s ‘track changes’ function, which we’re using to identify who changes what, has a tendency to mess things up, so I want to look at the final version, with the changes hidden, in hard copy. Mainly though, it’s so I can make notes. As the first book in a sequence there will be a number of things that I make real here, whose reality I have to live with from now on. In my first read-through I often came across things I will need to bear in mind for later books: the lead character’s idiosyncratic dialect, assumptions characters have made that they may later be disabused of, not to mention the overall set-up of this future culture. With power comes responsibility: or in other words, if you’re going to create worlds, make sure you look after them properly.