Re-writes

So, a brief update on where I am in the writing process.
Re-writes!
This is both my favorite and my un-favorite part of writing.

In December, I finally sent Fool’s Quest off to my editors.
In January, it bounced back to me, electronically, with twenty-two pages of queries, notes and suggestions.

I dove right back into the work, sure I would have them finished by the end of January and then on to book three.

I charged hard at it and made very good progress. Good editorial notes help the writer see his/her work in a different light. As a writer, I know what’s going to happen next. Sometimes I telegraph that too clearly, not taking time to let my character consider what might happen next. And with some 15 books behind me, all set in this universe, sometimes I forget to consider the reader who has only recently wandered into the tale. Although some readers believe I enjoy tormenting my characters, it’s actually hard to write those scenes. Sometimes I have to go back and put in the details that I’d rather gloss over.

Sometimes I forget that, to get from that place to the other place, yes, they’d have to cross a river! So mention that bridge or ferry or the reader won’t know where we are! And oh, yes. When they come back, they’d have to cross it again.

Some of re-writing is tedious. But some of it is pure pleasure. There is the opportunity to put in some clever bits that didn’t occur to me on the first time through. Hone dialogue. Drop in an insight. And that, of course, is the part that I love.

In the hours alone at the keyboard, it comes to me that it’s up to me and the characters. No one else is going to get this story told. No one else can sit down and push these keys for me. No one is going to keep on typing while I take a break. That can feel both wonderful and daunting. Despite all the internet does to provide feedback, writing in those hours remains a solitary profession.

So when I think I’m all alone, rolling that rock up the hill, I stop and reference those 22 pages of editorial notes, from two dedicated editors. It’s like being able to see the listeners, just beyond the edges of the campfire’s light.

And I keep going.

That’s the writing life.

And as February winds to a close, I have less than 100 pages to go. And it’s a much better book.

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