Well folks, that’s it.
After a lot of hard work I have finally completed the manuscript. Yesterday I packaged everything up and sent it off to my editor Shaun so he and the team at Amberley can now begin the task of turning it into a formatted book in time for the release date on 15 November 2017.
It’s quite an odd feeling. For over twenty years I’ve wanted to write this book. I’ve researched on and off for decades. During the last two and half years in particular I have been working hard, pulling together that research, collecting my thoughts more broadly and translating my ideas into words. I can’t quite believe I am now at this stage.
The final words count is 110,367 which is only 367 over my extended contract. Not bad going I think. Or at least I hope that’s what my editor Shaun will think. His next job is to get out his big red pen and spend a month doing what he does best, pulling out my typos and ensuring all the chapters sit well together. I will spend the first part of summer no doubt waiting nervously for him to send back his review for me to approve or re-edit. It feels a bit like waiting for exam results which I’ve not done for over fifteen years.
What I had not appreciated when I set out on this journey was that as well as writing the narrative, it would also take an enormous amount of time writing the other elements that make up a book. I’ve included some of Edward II’s letters written to his wife, son and the king of France during the dramatic years 1325-26 in an appendices, as well as a translation of the Fieschi Letter which is a key piece of evidence that sets out the scene for Edward’s survival beyond his apparent murder in 1327. The footnotes alone are 922 lines long which list my evidence at the back of the book. Then there are the contents page, structural dividers/chapter headers and the enormous bibliography. I also spent months organising the glossy images for the centre of the book. The hardest job of all was writing the captions for the images given I wanted to say so much but had such little space in which to say what I wanted. That was tough! In all, these extra bits added in another 14,000 words taking the total manuscript to over 124,000.
If there is a tip here to those who are writing for the first time or those who simply want to know more about the writing experience, it is this. Allow in your schedule a good month or more to edit and to make these extra structural additions. A book is only a book with these set pieces so treat them as you would your narrative. Giving care to all aspects of the work, no matter if only a handful of people ever look at your bibliography or footnotes, is just as important as the pace, tone and style of writing in your chapters. Care for every page and the book will care for you in turn.
I also wanted to take a moment to thank everyone who has supported me through this journey, especially in the last few months. I’ve barely left my study, even the cat lacked for company, but only by being given the space to get my head down and remain undisturbed has allowed me the opportunity to finish on time. I thank you all wholeheartedly for understanding that.
Business as usual shall now resume…!
With very best wishes