They’re never, ever done.

I hate editing.  Really, truly, utterly, totally (let me get my thesaurus out here for more terms that are synonyms for loathe!) editing.  I’d rather write a hundred pages than edit twenty.  Writing is a flight, and editing is well, ground crew work.

The Emperor’s Finest is 470 pages.  470 pages written quite awhile ago, and is in desperate need of a new beginning.   I started yesterday, and have managed a grand total of five pages.  For someone who averages twenty five pages a day when I’m in the groove and going, this is a dismal effort.  Considering I’m only looking at needing that twenty five pages for the solid start that the book needs, it’s even more dismal.   My hope is to have it done by Sunday, which gives me some leeway without giving myself too much room to get distracted.  I’ve even given myself a firm ‘no gaming’ edict until it’s done and ready to go live.   (Sob…Star Wars:  The Old Republic and my Sith Inquisitor must wait!)

So here I sit, the file open in the background, writing this blog.  And perusing Facebook.  And Yahoo.  And…well…it looks like I’m getting nowhere, fast.

I think the real problem is that books are never done.  I would be surprised if I ran into an author who could seriously tell me that they thought a book was completely, totally, one hundred and ten percent, done.  Over with.  As good as it ever could be.   No matter how old they are, how many times I’ve gone over them, how sick I am of my own ability to butcher the written English language and want to just stick a fork in them and say… “No more!”  The next time I give one a read through, I’m going to find something that just doesn’t work correctly.   And I’m going to want to fix it.   There has to be an end.  A moment when you push it away and say…no.     They’re like children.  You’ve never done quite all you hoped to have, but you blinked and they grew up anyway.   I promise.   These twenty pages, another read through to make certain that the other 450 pages don’t collide nastily with the new pages, and I’m sticking a fork in it.

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Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained…or the return to an old friend.

My husband told me yesterday that there was a news story I thought I’d really enjoy, and he showed me a video of a woman who had made quite a splash epublishing her own work.   He watched me nod and smile my through it, because that woman repeated so many of the disappointments and frustrations that have marred my own writing venture.  At the end, he went… “Well?”

“Well, what?”  I asked.

“Have you considered this?”

Well, yes, I had.  When I admitted as much, he asked me why I hadn’t.  The answer was easy, when I had gone to start an account, the very reputable site I had chosen had asked for information I was uncomfortable with giving them, namely my ssn and my credit card number… things I was very careful with.   He pondered the answer for a long moment, before nodding and telling me, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

I was a little surprised that he would consider giving a site the credit card to cover any returns that might be more numerous than sales (What, you mean people might actually not like my book…?)   But I was heartened by the support and stated that I would most certainly consider it once I had finished “Clearing the Way”.    His response was a less than completely pleased stare, and he finally asked, “What about Emperor?  It’s finished, it just needs some editing.  I finished rereading it the other day, and I still think….”

Ah, yes.   I’ve mentioned it in this blog before, “The Emperor’s Finest” was my first completed novel, the doorstop that proves that once I break a mental block, I do it in a big way.  Completed in 1999, it’s not just old, but downright venerable.  Surely, the last twelve years have honed my skills to such a degree that it, the resident dinosaur, must be laughable in comparison to “Clearing the Way”.   But it’s always had a faithful fan in my beloved spouse, and I agreed to take another look at it, pretty certain that I was opening myself up to a dreadful full book edit…the third that this particular work has been through.   I was not thrilled with the idea, honestly.  I started opening my old…old…old files, and there it was, still as long as I remembered.   I started the reread, and cringed my way through the first 15 or so pages…just as bad as I was expecting.   But there was a point when the book had ceased to be another attempt destined to fail, and when I hit that point, that epiphany was obvious.   Not as graceful as the later works,(I think) it still delivered a rousing read and at the end, I was surprisingly still very proud of it.  It was not a full novel edit, but could definitely do with a new beginning.

And again, I was astonished by just how dark it is.   Time had softened my memory of it, but there it was, in all of its brutal, blood splashed glory.  Like all of mine, basically a love story, but it’s an imperfect and occasionally disturbing relationship.  Had I been in a funk that year?  Looking back, I don’t think so.   1999 would have put both my kids in school, which is where I’d come up with the time to actually complete it.   I was happy at home, happy as a stay at home, and actually quite content with things.   Why that time in life had spawned Arien and Niel, I can’t even begin to say, but it most certainly did.

So yes.  A new beginning to the one that started it all… perhaps it’s fitting.  (Now if I could just find the cd with the completed sequel, we’d be in business….)