Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Off at the Start

"I hope you like what you read but remember, the magic is in the editing." My smart ass editor friend wrote that in an email he sent days before I read the manuscript. Such a great quote.

I haven't updated since Saturday because I don't officially have internet at my house. However, there is now a signal, and thus an update...

It took me close to six and a half hours to read the entire manuscript. I swear I thought it would take less time. I didn't make many notes--focusing instead on reading and assessing what I have (or don't have) in the text. People keeping asking me how it went and what I think... It's very hard to explain. I knew before I read that the manuscript needs a lot of work. That's what happens when you're dealing with Draft 1. I had accepted that there would be a lot of work to do, but I wasn't necessarily prepared for the level of work involved.

My suspicions were true. I love the beginning of the book. And I think, that after a little bit of work, the ending is going to be brilliant. But everything in the middle... Well... I'm scraping most of this stuff and I'm moving on and making it better because this really is the fun part, figuring all this out. I am so glad to be back at work on this book. So happy. So in love.

I was stressed out and anxious moments after reading. In no mood for celebration, I sat in Ellis Square with my notebook and assessed what was wrong with the plot. I can't help but think of it as an equation. I like the beginning and the ending. I know where I start and I know where it ends, now down what paths do my characters take to end up there? What methods do they need to endure?

I forgot how hard this is.

People marvel over the accomplishment of finishing a first draft. But most people don't know what they're talking about; I mean, they have no idea what it means to write a book, or what it takes. When I have revised the first draft into the second draft, that's when you should be impressed. The hard work ahead of me makes the hard work behind me seem simple.

"I have no idea what I'm going to do with this book," I say.
"Yes you do," the author in me says, "You are going to make it better."

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