Sunday, May 10, 2009
Harried, harassed and hopeful
There is nothing like an editor marking up your work to make you feel like you are a hack. I know. I just went through it again. The editor said she was impressed by my writing and that my novel wouldn't need another edit after this one. When I starting hitting comments and changes, so many changes, I began to wonder if that was her way of sugar coating the horrible truth, that I really can't write. The inevitable feelings of doubt and insecurities slammed me like Refrigerator Johnson hitting the Steelers' defensive line. I can't write. I don't know what I'm doing. How could I have missed that? And that? And that? I was only sixty pages in had over two hundred more to go. My lunch repeated on me and I ran for the bathroom. As I rifled the medicine cabinet, I kept asking myself why I had no dangerous drugs. Oh, yeah, because I wanted to be healthy and live. Cursing my lack of chemicals, I went back to work.
I almost feel sorry for all the writers I've edited. I put them through more than one or two edits, usually more than ten.
Actually, the changes weren't too bad, but they did point up a few little literary tics and habits I need keep an eye on. It took ten hours to go through everything, but it wouldn't have taken so long if I hadn't spent considerable time rewriting scenes, trimming dialogue and adding a few new scenes. There's always something I feel I could have done better. I wrote this novel ten years ago, rewrote it from scratch a couple of years ago and it finally found a publisher after being rejected twice. That's not such a bad track record and now the worst is over with. The editor assures me that I won't have to go through another edit unless I really feel the need.
Let me check. Do I really feel the need to go through this humbling experience again?
Nope. I'm good.
If I go through it one more time I'll tweak and fiddle and fret, so it's best to end things now. Like parties and relationships, it's best to know when to get out -- usually before you get kicked out.
The only thing left is to go through the galleys, take a look at the cover art and wait for the book and check. Stick a fork in me; I'm done with this one. I also have a few other projects that had to sit on the back burner while I focused on this one. I'm ready for a change. I have a whole pile of reviews to get through this weekend and I need clean clothes so I'll be shuttling between laundry and reading while I fit in a few hours of operative reports. I'll bet everyone thought I was off on a hot weekend of dating, drinks, dinner and decadent pleasure. Ha! Fooled you.
There is one other reason for my non-journal focus this weekend. We're hammering out the details of a contract for another book, nonfiction this time, that will be tied into two movies headed by two Oscar winning directors. The details are very confidential right now because there are still details to sign, seal and deliver, but putting together a complicated contract like this one takes time and intense focus, at least on my part. It's nothing new for the others involved, but I promise to reveal all when everything is in place and I can breathe again.
On another note, I want to wish all you mothers out there a very happy Mothers Day. May all your troubles be little ones that bring you flowers and chocolate.
And for all the writers, a little gift.