I'm writing this on Wednesday morning after missing a call from our dear editor Tuesday afternoon while I was out cutting the grass--and after I'd returned her call only to get her answering machine. This was, as you might imagine, a call I'd been waiting for since September 20th when I sent in the manuscript for the sixth book in the Cat Star Chronicles series, Hero. Right now, my hands and feet are cold and I feel an odd fluttering in my chest. How I managed to sleep last night is a mystery. This morning I had to get up early to go to a unit meeting at the hospital. My friend, Suzy, called me at 6:45 and told me not to come. It was cold, dark, and raining and she was sure that nothing very important would be covered at the meeting (she was right), but I went anyway just to give myself something to do before I could make that call. Now I'm writing this blog to kill time before I call her again. I hate being on pins and needles, but in all honesty, I've felt that way ever since I began writing it.
It's hard to write something that you know will eventually have to be altered to meet with someone else's approval. Back when I wrote for fun, I'd write a book the way I wanted it, print it up and let my friends read it. They either liked it or they didn't; there was no rewrite. Being published changes things. Yes, you're always anxious to know what readers think of your work, but for those of you who think getting your sixth book published should be easy, let me tell you this: IT IS NEVER EASY! Fortunately, I do have some feedback from my unofficial critique partner, Marie Force, who read it and liked it. Her chief complaint was that there wasn't enough sex! Imagine that!
Writing this blog now is probably wise, because I'm sure my time will be soon be usurped by the need to revise the manuscript. As the author, I thought it was fine when I sent it in, but when you've worked on something constantly for the past several months, you don't always see the flaws. It's always amazing to me that by the time I get to those final galley proofs of a book, there are still things I want to change.
Now I have talked with her. The gist of it is, she wants me to add more romance to what is, essentially, a science fiction adventure story. The first third of the book needs to be "reconceived" to make it read more like a romance novel and less like Star Wars.
I'm supposed to take a week off from writing while the assistant editor reads it and gives us her two cents worth. Then I do the rewrite and have it back to her by November 4th. I wish this process was a little more straightforward, and that I could get feedback along the way instead of handing in a finished product that really isn't finished. It isn't that the changes I'll have to make won't make it a better book, but it's very different from the way I view things in light of my "other" career. As a critical care nurse, I pretty much have to do things right the first time or someone dies. No one dies when you don't get a book right. I have to keep telling myself that, but at the same time, when I'm told that this, this, and this, is not right about the book, I feel like I've committed a cardinal sin. This, of course, is not the case, but it's still how I feel.
The ideas will kick around in my head for a while and then they will emerge and the process will continue. I'll probably like the second version of Hero better than the first, but, oh, how those potholes will rattle your brain when you first hit them. . . .