Hope y'all had a good weekend. I did - got the first pass revision of the May '12 book done. Now it's on to the second revision.
In case you're curious, this is how things usually shake out - I do several drafts, my beta readers read it and give their input and corrections, I do one more pass, then sent it to New York. My agent and editor read the book, and give me notes. For this particular book, my editor and I talked at length over lunch about some issues he though could be fixed, then followed up with his thoughts in the manuscript proper. We use the editing functions in Word for this. That method was a big change from my first editor, who sent me the manuscript hardcopy with her notes in red pencil scribbled all over it.
But I've gotten used to it. I read through the manuscipt start to finish just to get an idea of what he had to say, then I start at the beginning and go through each comment individually - adding, subtraction, refining. That's what I've been doing the past few days.
I saw something last week that I wanted to share. It's from the writings of Andre Dubus II:
"A first book is a treasure, and all these truths and quasi-truths I have written about publishing are finally ephemeral. An older writer knows what a younger one has not yet learned. What is demanding and fulfilling is writing a single word, trying to write le mot juste, as Flaubert said; writing several of them which becomes a sentence.
When a writer does that, day after day, working alone with little encouragement, often with discouragement flowing in the writer's own blood, and with the occasional rush of excitement that empties oneself, so that the self is for minutes or longer in harmony with eternal astonishments and visions of truth, right there on the page on the desk; and when a writer does this work steadily enough to complete a manuscript long enough to be a book, the treasure is on the desk.
If the manuscript itself, mailed out to the world where other truths prevail, is never published, the writer will suffer bitterness, sorrow, anger, and, more dangerously, despair, convinced that the work was not worthy, so not worth those days at the desk. But the writer who endures and keeps working will finally know that writing the book was something hard and glorious, for at the desk a writer must try to be free of prejudice, meanness of spirit, pettiness, and hatred; strive to be a better human being than the writer normally is, and to do this through concentration on a single word, and then another, and another.
This is splendid work, as worthy and demanding as any, and the will and resilience to do it are good for the writer's soul. If the work is not published, or is published for little money and less public attention, it remains a spiritual, mental, and physical achievement; and if, in public, it is the widow's mite, it is also, like the widow, more blessed."
Some seriosuly sage advice there.
Tomorrow I'll talk about series arcs. Played golf with my dad this afternoon - didn't do too badly, either. Sunflower seeds were consumed. A corrolation? I'm just sayin'.