Monday, January 5, 2009

Chapters One through Thirty-Four Today

Well, you can see that I now have just one place for you to click to gain access to the novel. I think the site looks a lot cleaner, and certainly makes it easier for you.

Only three chapters (I think) to go. I've been avoiding it, this last part. It's as if I am getting ready to say goodbye to an old friend. Of course, it will always be with me, and certainly still be driving me crazy when it reaches the submission stage. But the completion of it, the final resting of it, I hope, in my brain, should make for more normal days. I have been obsessed with it, as I think I told you.

I wanted to comment on something that has occurred to me at numerous times since I've been doing the revisions. I belong to another writing site, where we all critique one anothers' work - although I've been shamelessly lax, being so involved in this manuscript - and I've received suggestions for improvements to the ms there, which I mostly took on board. I also read a vast quantity of blogs and writing How-To sites, and, from all this wealth of information, it came home to me just how terribly complicated the process of writing a book is, way above and beyond the actual creation of it.

It stands to reason we must be very careful with our editing - proofing and proofing again - to make our words perfectly clear, not muddled. This, in itself, is the worst job of all, as far as I can see. I would pay someone else to do it, had I spare cash, but I don't.

On top of that, today we have to be terribly clever with our query letters, composing them like works of art in themselves. We need to have brilliant 'pitches', breathtaking synopses, and all typed very carefully in Copperplate Gothic, they say.

Thinking back to all the biographies or newspaper snippets I've read about famous writers of much earlier years, particularly those of the forties and fifties, it seems their publishers weren't so absolutely perfectionist about the condition of their manuscripts. Those writers, admittedly tops in their field, were famous for their sloppy pages, seemed to almost take pride in that eccentricity. I've seen some of them reproduced, their original submissions, and they were just filled with ink blots and scribbled-out words, hand-written, a lot of them, with misspellings and poor punctuation.

In those days, editors permitted this, humored their great talents, allowed them to be - let's face it - incredibly difficult reads, at least, at that stage. So the editors and proofreaders did the awful slogging, all the tweaking, with what must have been hundreds of blue-pencil marks all across the pages.

It could never happen today, could it? Unless someone like J.D. Salinger really did present that mystical new novel, all messy and awful because it's been sitting around for so many years. I guess they'd take it, whatever its condition.

Oh, how I wish it could be that way for me. And mine is so-oo clean.

Except for that little comma I missed out on page.....

6 comments:

Kit Courteney said...

This made me laugh!

I know exactly what you mean.

But, oh, how I wish I didn't.

Fran said...

At least you're feeling better. That's a really good thing.

Melissa Marsh said...

I love the description of your novel - it sounds like something I'd like to read!

Fran said...

Well, Melissa, by all means, please read it. It's up there above this blog, all 34 chapters, in all its glory.

Although, according to the review I put up on January 1, some might think it's dull reading. And NOBODY even commented about that, or my bravery in featuring it.

I'd like to know what YOU think.

Fran said...

Oh, and Melissa, glad YOU'RE feeling better, too. Kit was disgustingly descriptive about how ill she was over Christmas. At least, you sounded poetic with the description of your unwell spell.

Ariom Dahl said...

hi Fran,
Yes, I found it easily - and great to see more chapters to read. Looks nice and uncluttered too.
Good luck, I'll be offline for about a week as we're visiting family.
Regards,
Moira