Actually . . . Writing

It's been an interesting, crowded Fall. The publication of The Seven Markets was not without its hurdles.  Anyone who tells you writing a book is the "hard" part is . . . well, let's not say lying exactly.  Romanticizing might be a better word.  Not that it's not hard -- it is -- but it's the good kind of hard.  Imagine running ten miles and blowing your previous best time out of the water: that's the kind of hard writing is.  Satisfying.  Invigorating.  After a good night's work, I feel like I'm walking five feet above the ground.

They're not all good nights, of course.

Editing, conversely, is the bad kind of hard.  Please note that when I write this, I'm talking about my piece of the editing pie.  I imagine the life of a freelance editor to be one of drama and passion, never knowing what sort of joys -- or horrors -- the next page, the next paragraph, the next word might bring.

But for an author, editing is going back over stuff you thought was good . . . or great . . . or that you made a mental note to go back and fix and hell if you didn't forget to go back and thank God you've got an editor to catch this stuff . . . and changing it.

There's an adage that says, for the creative person: "Kill Your Darlings".  What that means, to me, is "Be Prepared To Change, Delete, Remove, Strike Out, or Otherwise Eliminate Your Very Favorite Bits of The Book."

Which can be hard.

My editor -- I'm not going to share her name because I'm not 100% sure she wants me to share her name -- did an absolutely amazing job.  Hold on: ABSOLUTELY AMAZING.  Seriously.  Ellie's first adventure was so improved by the process of having a professional person go through with a fine-toothed comb, searching not only for grammatical and typographical errors, but for places where I, personally, had failed as a writer.

Yes: failed.

Some places I'd left out crucial information.  I'm curious how often this happens to other writers.  The information was in my head.  I knew it, of course.  But I never actually got around to conveying said information onto the printed page.

So it goes.

She also suggested an addition which ended up being three or four ms pages long (750 to 1,000 words, give or take) expanding our understanding of two characters' relationships.  When I tell you I love what that section turned into as a direct result of my editor's assistance I am writing about the kind of love one feels for a cherished song from one's childhood or a favorite painting you can sit and stare at for hours on end, always discovering new, wonderful things.

Editing is rough, then.  But it is satisfying in the end.  It's just that the end can seem so far away throughout the process.  I want to say we went back and forth at least a half-dozen times, revising and revising (side note: it did not help that this process was done not in Scrivener, the program I use for writing, but in Microsoft Word, the program I open when I feel like swearing a whole lot).  And while the final couple rounds of edits were quite minimal, by that point, they were also holding up the actual publication of the book.

From edits we went to our designer, who is a god among men.  Seriously.  I'll write about him sometime (I'm also not 100% sure how he'd feel about my writing about him, though his name's on the book, so there's really no escape).

And from the designer, then I had to figure out how to actually put the thing online for people to buy.  I'll probably get a few blog posts out of that process, which ended up being much easier than I could have anticipated, though it was filled with that queer sort of modern anxiety one feels filling out forms online and never being exactly sure when things are going to be suddenly be FINAL.  As in, "wait I didn't mean to click that oh shit let me go back and . . ."

But now the book is out there.  We're getting positive responses and I'm hoping to have some reviews to share sometime soon.  But in the meantime, I'm getting to do something I haven't really been able to do in a real, focused way, in at least a month.

Write.

I wrote last night.  I'll write tonight.  The first draft of The King's Glamour did a lot of things right, but I expect the second draft -- which will really be its own sort of beast -- to be the one to beat.  I'm giving myself through February to finish it, and I'll note that last night, when I finally called it a night, I was walking roughly five feet off the ground.  I kept knocking my head on the light fixtures, but I was too lost in my story to notice.