I thought I'd put out a quick update on the status of 'Swords of the Damned'; I have now finished the first draft, and the beta readers seem happy with it – which means that the only step now is the bit I hate the most, the redrafting stage. This requires concentration and focus over an extended period to rid the text of typos, polish some of the speech, take out duplicated words, and correct any errors. (At one point I had a fighter pull a sword from his holster. Heaven knows what was running through my mind there!)
I tend to take it on a chapter-by-chapter basis, going through each one twice. Scrivener makes this a lot easier – I admit it, I'm a real Scrivener fanboy – as I can compartmentalize all the text far more easily, mark which parts I've been through, and so on. Two run-throughs, then and that usually knocks out the errors, then I let the computer take a look.
Never rely on a computer spellcheck. Never do it. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. There are two things I find it excellent for, especially with fantasy, funnily enough. The first is that it provides yet another level of checking, and one not reliant on a tired human eye; usually it still catches a couple of words. (I'm British writing in American English; often that tends to be what trips me up!) The second is consistency of character names – simply plug in the correct spelling of a name, and you'll have a much better chance of catching it out.
I've got the cover art on the way, and no-one will be surprised to know that it is being done by the splendid Keith Draws; as soon as I get it back, I'll be posting it here on the blog, naturally, and I'm really excited about this. Then...well, once the redrafting is done and the cover is in...the ebook will go live. I'm hoping somewhere around the 29th or 30th at this point as a target date. By then it's going to be a real relief! A lot of people find it terrifying to push that 'publish' button, and I did myself the first time, but I'm coming to a point that I find it exciting – to see what other people will think of the book, and to signal that it is, indeed, time for the next one to begin!
OK, I still find it terrifying as well! I suppose I should get back to work now...