Thursday, June 26, 2014

Which Comes First, The New Manuscript or the Old Edit?

It’s no contest, really. As much as I’d rather work on something new, there are things called deadlines, plus do you want to see your story finally in print. Some folks tell me their writing is the difficult part. For me, that’s just the first baby step.

 I was trying to get away for a little vacation with relatives when I received one of my Housetrap novellas back from my editor. This is round two on this particular manuscript. No matter how many times I look over a project, I always miss something, or find something new I’d like to change. My biggest sins on this one seemed to be overuse of certain words. Sometimes I discover I’ve even used the wrong word. My brain tends to race on ahead of the computer. Either that, or the computer is playing tricks…again.

Editors keep me on the hairpin curves and one lane travel of my scribblings. I can’t imagine what the end result would be like without them prodding me with a sharp pointed stick. After two go-rounds with the editor on The Treasure of the Sarah Madder I think we have it in half decent shape and send it off. Which is a relief because I have a boat to get ready for the summer and a back garden that has decided to go off and do its own thing. Important plants are disappearing beneath the dreck. Of course, if I ever catch up with my life, I do have two new manuscripts I’m trying to work on simultaneously, a sequel novel and a new novella. I promised myself I will finish both by year-end. Sometimes I suspect I’d be better off working on one project at a time, but then that might get boring.

Of course my writing life never travels in a straight line. Just when I think I have week free to get caught up, my editor sends me back a manuscript I thought I’d finally finished with. I didn’t realize I’d committed so many sins. What I thought was near to perfection has become all marked up with righteous indignation. My point-of-view has wandered off to heck and back…again! It is a good thing somebody up there is keeping an eye on me. There goes my free time for this week. The garden will still be there next year, I think.

Fortunately, I actually enjoy this writing life. Opened the mail this morning and found another book to review for an on-line magazine. Oh good grief, the reading pile is reaching new heights. A grandson needs help with his car, a granddaughter has a soccer game I apparently promised to watch. Someone asked me what I do with my spare time. I said I’ll let them know if I ever find it.


The Dark Lady - February 2012 published
Dark Days - March 2014 published
Dark Knights – coming August 2014 (If I ever finish final editing my sins)

The Queen=s Pawn - April 2013 published and working on book two of three (I think)

The Housetrap Chronicles Volume One - Jan 2014 published and includes the first three in the six tale series. Working on novella #7


Liz Fountain said...

Ha - my computer plays those same tricks, R.J.! It puts overused words back in the MS after I'm certain I've cleaned them all out, and in the middle of the night it wakes up to toss in some silly grammar mistakes. Perhaps its operating system involves brownies? (I meant the fairy kind, not the kind that are legal now in Washington state, but I guess that might explain it too...)

I find it comforting to know others whose "writing lives never travel in a straight line." Thank you!


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I hear you.

First remember dreck is fertilizer. So that's almost covered. The garden can be a worry, but we have a columnist here in Daytona (“The World’s Most Famous Jungle") who calls himself The Darwinian Gardener. Let it all hang out.

Rhobin Lee Courtright said...

You have aptly described the writing life, through in job commitments and other obligations like maybe vacations with the family, and it's a wonder anyone completes a story.