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I’M TIRED OF BLOODY MARYS. CAN WE BREAK OUT THE CHAMPAGNE NOW?

February 3, 2013

I’M TIRED OF BLOODY MARYS. CAN WE BREAK OUT THE CHAMPAGNE NOW?

Today is a day for celebration. After 25 or so years of on again/off again writing, with babies and grandbabies and building careers and house projects and gardens and just fielding all the things life throws at you in between, I finally finished the next-to-the-last series of edits of my novel. After I go through it one more time, like obsessively checking to make sure the stove is turned off and the doors are locked, I am packing it up to send it to the proofreader editor, who will probably send it back with the admonition not to be wanton with my commas.

Who knew it would take this long? After all, as one author (Who can tell me which one?) said, “Writing is easy. You just sit in front of a typewriter and open a vein.” Yes, once that vein is opened, the blood, and the words, can flow freely, but nobody it said it wouldn’t be painful. Sometimes the story nips and gnaws at you with its sharp little teeth until you have put it down on paper. Characters you don’t like, who have no regard for your sensibilities, do and say things that embarrass or hurt you. Messy accidents shape events, just like they do in real life. You, the writer, helplessly stand aside and bleed as the story puddles on the page. You have little to do with that part of it, except sacrifice your life essence and wonder if it is worth it.

But there is more to a good novel than just the story. The story might come gushing out, but literariness takes slow, deliberate effort. Lots of sweat, in other words. Aside from all the aforementioned time-sucking events, it took me forever to find the right words, the right images, the right flow, the right grammar to not only bring the story to life, but to bring it to life vividly, and with class. Thankfully, I have a kind and enthusiastic–not to mention hardworking–editor who shortened the process. Although she asked me to do some things I frankly didn’t want to, she at least was willing to jump in there and help me slog through unpleasantness. If there was a bad image, she uncovered it. If there was a split infinitive, she put it back together. If there was an overblown metaphor, she took the wind out. Her work cut a couple of years off my publishing schedule. Thank you, Elizabeth Turnbull of Light Messages Publishing Company!

Now, I put this baby to bed, for tonight, anyway. Tomorrow, I’ll go through it once more, then hand over my much bled over, sweated over manuscript to the proofreader. I would like to say my long journey toward publication is nearly at an end, but I suspect there is still a ways to go. Perhaps we are at least at the beginning of the end. I hope so, anyway. Champagne isn’t meant to be aged.

 

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5 Comments
  1. Carmen Pennington permalink

    I CANT WAIT TO READ IT DEBORAH !!!!!! HOW EXCITING IS THIS !!!!

  2. wanda permalink

    Be sure and let us know when it is published.

  3. Elizabeth Turnbull permalink

    Lovely!

  4. You finished a novel!! The furthest I’ve gotten is coming up with a plot and characters, and I know yours is going to be filled with humor, warmth, and wisdom. Congrats and I absolutely can’t wait!!

  5. Maybe we could write the wootton story in novel form(names changed to protect the innocent)!
    Really Deborah I am so very happy for you and can’t wait to read it!!!! Blessings my friend!

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