I didn't have a chance to add my own comments to last week's interesting comment discussion, but it has influenced my post for this week. (Feel your power, commenters!)
I will not be talking about the Irish language or viral research, but will, instead, share something I do know something about, and that's rewriting.
(By the way, some of your comments about me last week were very generous and kind and made me feel like all the work that goes into my writing is noticed and appreciated, which was SO nice!)
I know I've done a previous post about rewriting, but this will give you a bigger, broader picture, and I think writers (or appreciators of writers) will find this interesting (and hopefully not too daunting).
What follows are different stages of the first page of Sammy Keyes and the Showdown in Sin City.
Here it is as initially submitted to Nancy (my editor, for you newbies). Keep in mind that this page is the result of the initial writing plus about 15 rewrites to get it "perfect" before submission to Random House. (Click image to enlarge.)
What follows next is my "perfect page" after Nancy weighed in on it and I reworked it. (Some of the pencil is her. The red pencil is what I did in response to what she did. And then, to confuse matters, I also wrote in regular pencil. If you're someone who's going to study this, you'll figure it out. If not, just see how my perfect first page has been brutalized.)
Next (below) is that brutalized page reworked again before being resubmitted to Nancy.
And finally, here it is again after two copy editors ("J" and "A") and Nancy have weighed in on the "REV 2" copy. (Those of you who follow the Sammy Keyes series will bust up at the electronic comments.)
Keep in mind this is ONE page. There are about THREE HUNDRED of these to agonize over in each book I write. (And believe me, some of it is agony!) I can spend half an hour debating the replacement of a word or the placement (or removal) of a comma by a copy editor. (Commas drive me crazy!) And then there's the maddening eleventh hour plot revision suggestion that requires analysis of the entire book to make sure one "little change" here doesn't mess something up elsewhere.
Some authors claim that final draft flies from their fingers.
I'm not one of those.
Some authors have editors who don't really edit.
Thankfully, I'm not one of those, either.
To be good at this craft you need to be willing to work and lucky enough to have an editor willing to do the same. I work very hard and I'm willing to weigh the advice and perspective of my editor and work some more.
Am I talented?
If so, I've worked very hard for that 'talent.'
That's more like it.
So yes, your comments from last week mean a lot to me. And I hope that showing you part of what I go through to be a writer worthy of those comments will inspire you to see the process through in your own writing. Be dedicated. Be tenacious.
That's how to make your talent shine.