e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

Sunday: nose still on the grindstone

Sunday began early but without a headache (hurray!) and I staggered in and got to work, thinking "Only a few chapters to do; maybe I'll be done in time to take an afternoon nap."

As if.    Instead, here I am, still working.  Four hours to midnight, when (she mutters under her breath) she WILL email this monster off to Editor, no matter what.   Why this hostile attitude?

First, this book is no longer 33 chapters.   I thought it would come out to 33 chapters.  No, it's thirty-flippin'-nine chapters, because one chapter was 62 pages long and--through several apparently unrelated and unreconsidered revisions--become an entangled mass of Ideas (not all bright, either),  Conversations (some senseless and others repetitive), Events (peculiar without being interesting) , and Situations.  Etc.  Would anyone ever care what game the children were playing in the walled garden?  No.   Or what exactly the children were doing in the kitchen?  No.   Or what the servant's dress looked like?  No.  No. No.   That one became three chapters.  Others became two, or three chapters.

There is a point at which a writer is thoroughly, completely, absolutely through with a book.   It's like kneading your bread dough too long (hard to do, but possible, when the dough that was coming together and forming a nice smooth elastic lump instead reverts, and wants to turn into a nasty friable pile of overworked gluten and sullen yeast-beasties.  When a writer hits that wall, the book which has been lovingly nurtured, fertilized, watered, pruned, and cooed over suddenly looks/feels/reads like the worst piece of garbage ever foisted off as literary endeavor.  Even perfectly harmless, grammatically correct sentences look suspiciously bad.  Anything with an error in it--"teh" for "the" for instance--is like a bullhorn proclaiming the writer's incompetence.   HOW could you POSSIBLY be so STUPID, says the nasty voice inside that's always lurking around ready to pop out and stomp in spiked boots all over a writer's ego.   Call yourself a WRITER?  THAT's  a laugh!  (You can see the marks on any writer's ego, if you look: they've all been through the tenderizer repeatedly.

So finding an overlong chapter full of Awful Fail put the pointy hat of shame on the whole miserable past two and a half weeks.   It took me eight hours--eight hours--to fix that chapter and make it into three coherent chapters that accomplished what they should.   And untold hours previously, wading through the same part of the book, thinking I was fixing it when I wasn't.  So...can I trust this fix?  Probably not.  The temptation is to blame the book--it was stubborn, it gave me trouble, etc, etc.   But we all know whose fault it really is.  The book is innocent as any wide-eyed child staring up at Mommy having a tantrum and then having a copycat tantrum.  The book isn't the problem.  The writer is the problem.  In this case...that would be me.  

And that makes me feel SO good.  SO eager to get back at it for what is now three hours and forty minutes so I can, in fact, email a perfect, wonderful, no nits to pick manuscript off to my editor by midnight. (A moment of "O waily, waily, waily woe" is inserted here.)

What actually works, in these situations, is experience.   The last big problem is actually fixed.   It isn't perfect; it will have nits, which is what Editors are for (finding them, making us fix them)  but the Awful Fail parts are in fact fixed, and I know that when I'm not wallowing in self-pity.   I didn't really want to spend this particular two and a half weeks working on this particular mess, but I did it and got it done and...it's time to go remove another 2500 words and run the spell-checker again.
Tags: the writing life
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