Last Thursday I received my first, real-life edits. My heart was going pitty-pat as I tore open the package.
First impressions: my book looked fatter than I remembered, St. Martin’s Press’ letterhead was very nice, and Holly’s handwriting was nice and round.
I picked up the book in my left hand, and riffled the pages. There were so few comments! Clearly, I was a literary genius–a buoyant thought that made me smile toothily until I picked up the book in my right hand, and thumbed through the pages with my left.
Oh… Holly writes her comments in the left margin.
Well, all rightie then.
So that’s what I’ve been doing this week–working through the edits. Around two this afternoon, I completed my first swipe at them, managing to address all of Holly’s ‘broad strokes’ and ‘specific points’ requests. Next, I’m going to examine two scenes very carefully. There’s something a little off there. Maybe I need to dig down another layer. To do so, I’ll need a corkscrew, a bottle of merlot and a straw. How else can you come up with the right adjective for a man’s muscle (bicep, I was thinking bicep)? I’m sure there are many romance authors out there who can sit down in front of their monitors at 9:00 a.m., grab the word ‘sleek’ and keep going. Not me. I need night-time. I need music. I need a glass of merlot. And even then, I’ve got to work fast. By the second glass, I have to stop drinking, because two’s my limit.
On the subject of lifting glass in cheer, I spent last Friday night sipping Pinot Grigio with Caitlin Sweet and her tall Science Fiction writer, Peter Watts. Caitlin’s novel, The Pattern Scars, will be out soon. I simply can’t wait.
What else have I done since last I posted? Hmm. Went to a BB-Q party where I ate little (yay, me!) Celebrated our anniversary at our usual Japanese restaurant. Skyped with Julie Butcher. Let the dog in and out of the house a few million times. Chatted with my cleaning lady. Went and bought some books. Contemplated my hairline. Seriously, am I molting?
And finally, somewhere in the early hours of the morning, I came to a realization. I’m an obsessive writer. Yup, slow as a turtle, and definitely a touch fanatical. I would have been a rotten mother if I’d chosen to seriously pursue writing when my kids were young. Some women do it so well–and by doing so, are exemplary mentors to their children–and to them, I tip my hat. Well done.
But I’m not one of those women.
So, you know what? I’m making peace with myself. It took me a long time to get around to writing my first novel. So what. THIS is the right time to do it.
*Here’s a short list of romance writers I recommend: Georgette Heyer, Charlotte Bronte, Mary Balogh, Laura Kinsale, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Lisa Kleypas, Elizabeth Hoyt, Anne Gracie, Jennifer Crusie, Joanna Bourne, Loretta Chase. And if you can find her, look for this writer: Mary Stewart. Full of suspense, a little thin on the romance, but ultimately, so, so satisfying.