I rewrote the last two chapters of Night Town, and the editor Andrea Douglas is happy with it. I quote “It’s great! I think the ending is much stronger and more focused now.” There was much dancing with joy.
So what’s next? I *think* that Greg Ioannou, my publisher who bears an uncanny resemblance to a young Dumbledore, is going to have a kick at it as well before we go to copy edit.
Now what do to before the copy edit, the final stage of the wordsmithing? To be painfully frank, I’ve polished this book within an inch of its life and it’s probably been through more rewrites than the Bible. Last count was six drafts. And those were substantive changes. Meaning largely different books.
I have opened veins for Night Town and I want it to be as perfect as possible. So I’m going to read it aloud once and then polish each word and phrase as if each if they were precious stones.
And to me they are.
A book is the sum of all of its parts and each word culminates in creating a gorgeous house you, the reader, wants to spend time living in and exploring.
But if it’s hastily constructed, with no thought to craftsmanship, a novel can feel more like a trip through a leaky dump with broken floorboards and the smell of mould. The kind of building that you can’t wait to get out of.
The one thing that saddens me is that back in the glory days of fiction, a writer had an editor who guided them through this process. A professional with a whip who made certain that no unnecessary phrase remained, no thread left unraveled, no garbled sentence could be found.
This step exists no longer. It’s not cost effective in the new landscape of fiction and now it’s up to writers to make sure their work is as perfect as it can be and we have no one to blame but ourselves if it is not.
Wish me luck!
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