Thursday, September 23, 2010

The first draft of anything is (bleep)”-- Hemingway

Yes! The first draft of my new book is finished. Is Hemingway right? Put it this way-it needs some work. I don't mean to blow the image of an author typing happily away at their keyboard, smiling at every word, convinced that they're all golden, but sorry, it's just not like that for me. The truth of the matter is I can't use a comma correctly to save my life; I invert sentences; my plot has holes; and my timeline is a bit on the shaky side. Do I see this stuff as I'm writing? Nope, I'm usually clueless.

Enter my editor, Emily. See, I'm really lucky-at Avon, I've been fortunate to work with editors who actually edit. And each time I work on their comments, it's always a "slap myself on the forehead; why didn't I think of that" moment. It really is so obvious to me once they point it out, yet I didn't see it at the time. Why? I guess it's the old adage…"can't see the forest for the trees" kind of a thing. It takes that second pair of eyes to find the glitches.

And boy, do they! During my first experience working with Sarah Durand on WITCH WAY TO MURDER, I needed to make so many changes that I was actually dreaming about the edit. In those dreams, I'd see pages of blank paper, or I'd find myself watching my characters act out scenes from the book while I took notes. Talk about nightmares!!! *g* It can be frustrating-not because I mind doing the rewrites-but because I missed catching it myself on the first go-round and want to make sure that I "get it right" on the second.

What do I expect on this next edit? Well, Emily has done an initial read through, and she very kindly took the time to shoot me an email, giving me her first reaction. The book is strong and is on track with the original concept-yay-but there are a couple of things that need fixed! Umm-I kind of figured that! And I'm okay with making whatever changes she wants-I know that thanks to Emily, this book will be more satisfying to the readers because of the time and attention she has devoted to it.

So the next time you pick up a book and read the acknowledgements and see that the author has thanked their editor, know that the editor earned that thank-you! They took the kind of first draft that Hemingway referred to and turned it into something worth reading!!!

That's it for this week-have a good one and see you next Thursday!!

Best,
Shirley

1 comment:

Sharon S. said...

lol, I, too, don't know where to put commas . I just stick them where I might pause if I was speaking directly to the person. Semi-colon? It is how I say wink, wink with a smile;) I really want to get the book "Eats, leaves, shoots" or something like that. It is about punctuation.

I would think a first draft would be about spitting out the words onto paper as quick as it comes and worry about cleaning it up later. If you over think a scene you might lose the spontaneity of it. Or some bull* like that . I say thank you to your editor!! Between the two of you I am thoroughly entertained :) and looking forward to this new book.