Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Power of Churn

My first lesson (again, this lesson comes back to haunt me) is to NEVER throw anything out. Words, I mean. I don't care about other stuff. Other stuff can be replaced. Words not so much.

See, what the average author does is write and write and write and so much of it is rubbish that the writer despairs of ever being anything more than a hack. It's disgusting garbage the writer churns up in an effort to get at what the story is all about. The essential truth of the thing. The purpose, the meaning, the freaking point.

And then, eventually, it becomes clear. This is the point I reached at the beginning of September with THE RIVER BRIDE.  Now that it's clear though, I realize a lot of my earlier churn contained shards of gold. In whole pages of dreck are one or two useful observations. A couple of truths. I remember writing them. Can I find them again? NO! Because I cut and deleted and said, "Oh, lord, you'll never want THAT again."

Churn. Never underestimate its power.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

On Receiving One's Editorial Letter

One edits. One does not blog. Or wash. Or visit people (the real ones at least). Or get out of the bathrobe. Or vacuum up dog hair. Or eat sensibly. 

I AM DONE! The edited manuscript has been sent! I'm exhausted. But the book is better. It was not very good before. I have no idea how agents and editors see diamonds in the dull, bloated rocks that come across their desks. X-ray vision, they must have.

Kudos and kisses to all the steely-eyed agents and editors who do far more than midwife books into print. All a midwife does is deliver a perfectly beautiful baby. An editor has to crawl into a writer's mind and root through the gunk and the booze and the excuses, sweetly whispering "I know you left the story in here somewhere, dear. Don't you worry, we'll find it." And then she pulls out her scalpel....

I hardly felt a thing.