So Holly and I ended up have to go back and forth a couple of times on one sentence, but I think it was really worth it – what she came up with totally nails the character of Harper and in particular the delusion she’s working under, which is important for the entire story.

So, once the copyedits are done, it’s time for the proofing. This means checking for punctuation, spelling, and ensuring there’s as little repetitive writing as possible. Some proofers are incredibly anal – Honestly, how can you question the use of a word 200 pages apart? When I get my proofs, I tend to spend a LOT of time swearing and being annoyed. Then I buckle down and consider their thoughts carefully because you know what? They’re not saying it to be annoying. They’re saying it to make this book/story the best it can be.

I sent my proofs to Holly, she looked them over, proofed it herself and sent it back. It can be really difficult for the author to proof at this stage – you’ve seen the story so many times, you KNOW the word you put on the page and that’s what you read, even if in fact it’s spelt wrong. A tip is to read the work backwards – a task when it’s novel length, I can tell you! But it helps you focus on each word, each mark on the page, rather than getting swept into the story.

So, it is done. Holly’s story is ready to go. She’s written her biography (another first, and one of the most HATED jobs in writing) and so now it’s just for me to put it on the page and get it ready to go live on May 1.

I’m so proud of Holly and the work she’s done on this story. I hope that she feels that she’s learnt a lot and she’s walking away from this process a better writer than she started it.

May 1 also marks the beginning of the next submission period so if you want a chance to be the story published on June 1, read the submission guidelines here.