Putting Pen to Paper

A little update on the writing front. I was actually inspired enough to write out a 1,400-word feature for the magazine I usually write for. I haven’t sent my editor there anything for two months, so this was a sort of peace offering. No word from her yet, so I don’t know if she accepted it or not.

I haven’t mentioned much about my novel, so I guess I should share the happy news that we’re finally done on the first round of edits. It’s been an interesting experience so far. I wasn’t sure how I’d handle it, and in all honesty the first chapter was a little hard. But once I got into the swing of things, it actually became great fun.

It was extremely comforting to see that my editor could pick out the areas that I knew had problems, but was just too tired to fix when I sent her the dozen-times reworked manuscript. It instilled a sense of confidence in me that my work is in the hands of someone who knows what she’s doing.

There will probably be more edits and I was terrified to find so many silly mistakes – repeated phrases, skipped words, grammatical errors and typos – all still popping up even after so many reads. Will the book ever be perfect? I really don’t want to have any more typos that are absolutely necessary (which is none!)

One good thing is that I found myself getting excited about the story all over again. I haven’t read the manuscript in months and so it was a truly fresh look at it. I just hope it’s as interesting to readers, insha’Allah.

I’m already working on the next book – thinking positive – and my only worry right now is which of the half-finished plots I have should be the second novel. They’re in various stages but I find myself being inspired to follow a different one each day. I should make a decision really quickly because I want to have at least a first draft done by the time Surviving Zahra comes out. That means some serious writing lies ahead of me, and the need for discipline.

Let me go make a choice. I’ll keep you updated on where Surviving Zahra will be available and when.

Bint Ali


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