Thursday, December 22, 2005


If I lacked in self-control or had an excess of courage, my manuscript might have found its way onto the fire last night, Winter Solstice--the darkest night of the year. Sure, it would only have been a gesture in this modern era of computers, backed-up files, and printers. But, this editing just isn't going as well as I thought it would. Many writers will tell you, "just get it down, then the editing is easy". I'll tell you now, it's not the truth. The writing was for me one giant spontaneous burst of creativity--going up like kindling--I was aglow. Every day posed a new opportunity to see who these characters were and where they would take the story. Pure sparks of pleasure...

Now, of course, I'm deep in the throes of the re-structuring. I'm having to learn to reign in the "wild mind" and ensure that, yes, there is a beginning, middle, and end that make some kind of linear sense. But, frankly, linear sense is not my strongpoint...not what I enjoy. I'm trying to spare my editor this task before she gets her hands on it and decimates the pages with a red pen, just like grade school. (That damn red pen is why I always used smudgy inconvenient pencil on my students' drafts..."These are just my comments, they aren't indelibly marked on this page--use them or erase them as you like." Of course, they knew the grammar wasn't optional and they could choose to ignore it--and also choose to lose points if it was a technical essay. So was it really a choice? I don't know, but I spared them the bloody red pages of my childhood, so that should count for something.)

The comments on my drafts at school in every grade went something like, "Lovely voice! Beautifully done! I loved this story more than you know!" Then, beneath these, "Where are these sentences diagrammed, though? Did you incorporate your spelling words? This story about a little girl and her space elephants doesn't answer the "question" of the assignment, What I did over Summer vacation. So, I'm ready for the same thing with this manuscript even though I know she's seen sections of it and has given me the "Lovely, beautiful, loved it" line.

I'm also completely frustrated with the lack of TIME to dig into this work...Maybe Ebenezer Scrooge wasn't a horrible old miser, but a frazzled writer with a draft to finish up and these three cute little ghosties constantly interrupting him. Or maybe that's just me--I don't know. As of now, my manuscript is safe from the flame for another day--tomorrow? As always, I'm not promising a thing. I've got matches in my back pocket...and fire blazing across my mind.


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