“Oh, I think that I found myself a cheerleader. She is always right there when I need her.”
Popular music aside, that would be my editor!
As we plunge ahead with the last chapters of Maelstrom, the high wire we walk sings with tension. I attribute this to a few factors. One is definitely the desire to be done. Another is the fast-paced nature of this novel. We are feeling breathless as we teeter back and forth, placing our feet so carefully on the swinging juggernaut high above the earth. We are racing to the last page in much the same way the characters are.
Line-by-line editing can be tedious, it requires intense concentration and, from an author’s perspective, the whole process is humbling in the extreme. To have the same silly errors called to one’s attention, again and again, certainly serves to put the most egotistical of us in our place. Oh well, maybe that is just me. At the same time, there is joy to this work. An intense focus on the parts that make up the whole can be quite rewarding.
A good edit requires multiple readings. That kind of high-beam look at my own work can make me shiver with delight as layer under layer of the story is revealed. Though it might seem surprising, I am often just as surprised and delighted as my readers when it comes to symbolism and making the deeper connections.
From the stripped bones of my mother’s story to what this book is now becoming, this has been one amazing journey. I came across a line of dialogue the other day that has been there since the first draft. It is a remnant of my mom’s writing and I’ve loved it from the start.
Muttering a string of profanities, Turk searched his pockets for his house key. If he’d lost that damn key, his father was going to beat him. He found it and was about to fit it into the lock when the door swung open.
“Seen you coming up the front,” his mother said, clutching onto the edge of the door. “You took so long … figured you’d lost your key again.”
“Got it right here.” He pushed by his mother to get into the house.
“Where you been?” she asked.
“Around. Where’s Pa?”
“Had to work.” His mother stared at him. “You don’t look so good, Turk.”
He ran his eyes over her thin frame, the dark circles under her eyes and the red-flowered housecoat she was wearing. “Ain’t no picture yourself, Ma. Can I get something to eat?”
Ain’t no picture yourself, Ma. I love it!
Today, my editor complimented me on a descriptive section that I had worked hard to perfect.
The gardens behind the mansion were about as perfect as any gardens Laura had ever seen and she wondered how anything in the front could be fancier. The gardener had chosen well to ensure maximum colour. Late blooming beauty roses in myriad shades of pink chased over the tops of wooden trellises. Banks of feathery spirea stood tall behind the dramatic Apache Plume with its sage green foliage and white flowers floating over pink seed heads. Magenta coloured cranesbill jutted out in patches. There were beds of lavender and bunches of hollyhock blossoms so purple they looked almost black. Rust-red switch grass swayed in the breeze like a mist of colour along the edges of the paths.
I’m not one to blow my own horn, but I do believe Maelstrom is a book that has the potential for commercial success. In the first place, it is an easier genre to promote than my other work – a suspense/thriller that races along at a clip that will leave readers breathless. It is also wonderfully and painfully (at times) visual. I can almost see the movie version as I read.
I cannot wait to release this novel! I hope readers will be as thrilled with this action-packed, rollercoaster ride of a story as I am. My mother smiles upon me from the beyond as I teeter out on the high wire.
Wonderful descriptions, Fran. You and your mom’s writings sound like a good combination. I’m sure she would have been proud of this collaboration. Can’t wait to read the final results.
Thanks so much, Gayle. Nice to see you on WordPress. I hope you are all settled into your new abode and getting on with life. Moving can really take it out of a person. Sending best wishes.
Maelstrom reads fascinating, Francis! Congrats! Editing can be a painful and humbling experience indeed but we all need it. 😀
So true, Vashti – it is imperative. No matter the number of times I go over my own work, there are things I simply cannot spot. My editor is particularly talented at pointing out when I’m being overly wordy. A simple slash through four or five words does the trick. I get it 🙂
Thanks for the sneak peak, Fran. I didn’t realize your mom inspired your new novel. Love it! Good luck with the rest of your edits.
Thanks for the well wishes. I wasn’t sure I could pull the story out of her 2000 plus, manual typewriter pages of starts and restarts complete with margin notations and whole sections slashed through with pen and ink. When I look at the nearly finished product, I am stunned by this accomplishment – on both our parts. Her ability to come up with these characters and the basis for this story and mine to refine and bring it to completion. Bravo mom and daughter team.
What a great experience!
You go girl! Can’t wait for this next book!
Thanks so much for your support, Yvonne. Are you enjoying the Crater Lake series? Hope the books bring back fond memories of North Island life along with their emotional ups and downs.
Good luck with the rest of the editing!
Thanks, Noelle. Coming down the home stretch now.
Shall read with interest: looks to be going to be very different to Crater Lake! But hope for more Crater Lake as well!
This is a very different book!!! I was more than able to run with and refine my mom’s basic ideas but I must admit, I would not have conceived of this story on my own. I hope to have this book out in the fall and then spend time blocking out and working on a first draft of the next in the Crater Lake Series.
wonderful that someone
not written 🙂
I love this comment because of the layers of meaning within a few words. You might be referring to the editing process – so true – a gifted editor will read not only what is written but what should or could be there. Then again, you might mean taking an idea for a book that would never see the light of day and bringing it forth to the world. Or maybe you read something completely different in this humble post. Many thanks for any possibility.
If this post is any indication, the novel will be a huge breathless success. Can’t wait to read.
Thanks so much for your support, Pat. I might actually be looking for a few pre-release readers with the agreement that a review might be posted on release day. Let me know if you’d be interested. Probably looking to release in early Nov with pre-release in Oct.
Looking forward to this Fran, sounds an awesome collaboration.
Yes, indeed – and I’ve made this far more my own than the book of short stories. Feeling great about the results.