Friday, September 26, 2008

Enjoying the Less-Enjoyable

Coming up with book ideas is fun. Drafting (except for those writer's block moments) is a blast. Revisions are something I usually enjoy, because I can take something that's already there and polish it up, making it better and better each time I revisit it.

And then you turn in your manuscript, and generally speaking, the fun part is over.

If you're lucky and the book is accepted, you'll likely do more revisions. This might not be painful, but most likely, it won't be fun anymore, either. And yes, at times, rewrites can be just plain brutal.

Then come the edits. Even though I may be the grammar and punctuation nazi and an editor, I don't enjoy going over edits of my own books. By the time I've reached this point in the process, the book isn't fresh and new to me anymore, and chances are I'm finishing up something else altogether, so I'm having fun with that manuscript.

And to be honest, there have been times when I've been ready to flog someone over what they're trying to do to my book.

All this is leading up the point: I returned from our trip to Finland with my edit waiting for me on my desk. Kirk, my new editor, had sent it beforehand so it'd be ready to go when I got back. It stared at me as I tried to play catch-up around the house, and I put it off for several days. The stack of paper scolded me for ignoring it.

Since edits aren't fun (in fact, they're right up there with root canals at times), I didn't really want to go there yet. But I knew I had to, so I buckled down and did it.

So here's the great news: Kirk is awesome. Good editors are hard to find, and as I've mentioned before, I was scared to lose Angela, my dear editor for five books. But Kirk is gold, I tell you. (Okay, I already knew he was, but now I have physical proof.)

Here's a big clincher right here: he added a couple of semicolons to my book! I KNOW! It's like we were separated at birth or something!

I learned a few things going over his edit:
  • Even the grammar nazi can have loose fingers and type embarrassing homophones like you're/your, who's/whose, and (the worst!) it's/its. I know which is which. I do! But somehow my fingers still betrayed me.
  • I've developed a few bad habits with sentence structure that popped up over and over again. And again. Kirk gently smoothed them out. I'll be looking for them in my work in progress, however. They won't be able to hide . . .
  • Apparently, I really like em dashes.
  • It's rather jarring to work on a contemporary piece at the same time you're editing something historical. I had half a mind to give Tabitha a cell phone or something.
  • It's also a bit of a time warp to look back at a manuscript you haven't so much as glanced at in months. I'd practically forgotten some of the storyline. (No worries, though. I'm sure that by the time this thing goes to press, I'll nearly have it memorized. It's inevitable when you have to go over it several times.)

Now back to revisions on my contemporary book. My early readers' critiques are trickling in. For the most part, these upcoming revisions should be fun.

And for the first time in over six years, I've given a book a working title instead of calling it by a major character or location. (See this post for why I just don't do that normally.)

My work in progress is about five women and their friendships and difficulties while their husbands are deployed in Afghanistan. I'm calling it Band of Sisters. Assuming it gets accepted, we'll have to see if the title sticks.


Melanie Jacobson said...

I no how to use the correct homophones to, and yet eye still make those same embarrassing mistakes. I want to call my friends that due the edits and say, "I know its not that big of a deal, but I realize that I screwed up it's/its twice. I swear I no better!"

Julie Wright said...

Kirk is awesome and Melanie's comment made me laugh.A good editor is such an amazing gift!

Alison Wonderland said...

I think titles are hard. Good luck with your revisions and your edits.

samiam said...

I'm impressed that you like drafting--that is the least enjoyable part to me. I think I really am an editor at heart. It's not really fun until I get to start revising.

Elisa said...

I am so lazy with grammar and punctuation on my blog... it drives my editor husband NUTS.

I love your blog. You are inspiring!

Anonymous said...

My thing is commas. I can never place them correctly. I think I have mastered use of the word "that".

I can't wait to read your new book!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

What a fascinating insight into the process!

Luisa Perkins said...

Yay for Kirk! Yay for you!

Jennie said...

I'll second your praise of Kirk. He's my editor too, and he's fantastic.

Scribbit said...

You must speak Finnish? I'm guessing here but after seeing the list of blogs you have through Blogger I bet I'm right :) I've heard it's a hugely hard language to master.

Annette Lyon said...

I got a comment from Scribbit. SCRIBBIT, people! I'm so cool!

Yes, I do know Finnish. Mostly. I understand probably 75% of it now, although 20 years ago I was nearly fluent in speaking it, too. I lived there for three years while my dad was mission president back in the 80s.


Amazon's famous Prime Day events are huge for so many reasons, and for bookworms, it's even better: books aren't high-ticket ite...