Sunday, July 26, 2009
Run for the Castle Aaaaagggggghhhhh
Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail is my favorite movie EVER, but the ending is a little frustrating… that last scene where they are running at the Castle Aaaaaaagggggggghhhhh and each time it pans away, then back to the runners and they are back where they started. I’m feeling a lot like that at the moment. It’s not that I am uber-eager to have the French dump their poo on my head, but I keep running, and running, and running, and every time I think I’m getting somewhere, the camera pans away and I am back at the beginning. What I am referring to is this editing process. I publish scientifically, so I am completely aware… content even… with the idea that works take a few rounds of editing before they are quite ready. I finished my book in October and began immediately editing in the things from a notebook I’d been keeping to ‘check on’ or ‘add later’ (usually earlier hints at stuff I wrote in later that couldn’t come out of the blue). Then in November I started my ‘typo/grammar check’ editing. In December I began my first read through, rewriting portions. So we are at what? Five? At least at Arthurian counting. Then at the end of January I sent the book to three members of my writing group for feedback and sat back to start a different work for six weeks. Feedback came and I began yet another round of rewriting/editing. Then I polished it and thought I was done, only to learn 200,000 words is IMPOSSIBLE for a first time author to get published--that only established best-sellers get to do that, and that agents likely were seeing the number and pressing ‘form reject’--not even looking at my hook. So on to the SHORTENING rewrite. I have finished that and begun polishing again, only to hear ‘no longer me’ stylistically… Do you see me back there? Running for the castle yet again, from WAY back at the place I finally emerged from the cave with the Beastie? URRRGHHHH! But I began yesterday with chapter one, looking at the hard copy I used in shortening, and deciding line by line whether removals changed style or not. Only a few of them did, in my opinion. And when I was done the chapter was shortened by 1200 instead of 1500--so ALMOST as good… (down to 18 pages, rather than 17). I’m not sure if it will work, but I think the plan is to go with this and round down… it is page numbers that really matter anyway, ne? And maybe some day the whole thing will get to be published in its entirely--when I am famous and all… For now though, I am just eager to get close enough to be taunted a second time.