What to do with all this free time? Sleep is one option. But I think a retrospective is appropriate at this stage of the game.
- I completed the first cut of my manuscript Aces back in early October. My wife (my first reader) loved it.
- I elected to get a professional to read my manuscript and give me a full helping of reality. I wanted to know if what I had was really good, or was I about to end up like those pitiful souls we see on American Idol? When we watch those auditions, we laugh and ask, "Don't these people have friends or family in their lives who can tell them the truth?" I really didn't want agents to use my manuscript as the "what not to do" example. Yes, I am sensitive... don't be hatin!
- The feedback that I got was the reassurance that I needed. I can't tell you how an objective opinion, from someone who is a best selling author, does for the ego. Each time I questioned my words, I could remind myself that objectively, my work is good.
- I spent two weeks on the rewrites: one week to outline my plan of action, and another week to make all the changes. The net effect was that two full chapters were completely redone, one chapter got dropped, some themes were crystalized and the word count went up to 95,000. More importantly, the ending changed. And in my humble opinion, the result is a great ending! I got to say, that I see now how I had short changed my characters. Gemma and Andre deserved better, and they got it now. When I was pushed to think down a different path, the paths opened up.
- A couple of nights ago my wife finished reading the revisions. She was elated with the result. That's got to count for something :)
- After some final edits, this afternoon I compiled the new manuscript and sent it off to Michael Levin... and now, we wait.
Writing... what a powerful medium! With a few clicks on my keyboard, the characters suddenly behave differently, say different things, and more often than not surprise me. They say things that I never expected, and behave in ways that makes me bubble up with excitement.
For their dialogues to sound true and crisp, I spent a lot of time formalizing these characters. So much so that I am nearly certain that if I was asked to put them in different scenes, I would know exactly how they would react without much thought. It's a bit unnerving. Split-Personality Disorder is alive and well in my head!
I never thought that I would enjoy, absolutely love, the editorial process. Maybe it gets old after many months, and revisions.... maybe. But I must say, I enjoy my characters so much that each time I revisit them, they come to life. And when there is an opportunity to make them better, I am ready to hit the keyboard. My wife hit the nail on the head. "I miss them," she said. Yeah, I hear you.
Now, instead of catching up on some sleep, I think I'll start brainstorming a new idea that was born when my wife and I were enjoying lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. But before I start, I need to get the brain juices flowing. And there are two ways that my juices flow: music and exercise, P90X style! I'm a glutton for punishment!