Friday, October 23, 2009

Done. Really.

When I got back from the ACFW conference, I "took back" my manuscript from Nicci the Wonder Editor because I had come up with so many changes I wanted to make. Well, when I started making those changes, I found other things to change, and then some more, and, well, I FINALLY finished last night, a month after starting "just a few quick changes." I just don't know how to stop!

What's funny is that two of the scenes I was going to change ended up not getting touched, at least not as extensively as I'd originally intended. But once I started reading through the book--for the first time since finishing it--SO MANY THINGS jumped out at me. But it was nearly all craft stuff. Wording--making it better. Description--cutting it or making it more compelling, since description ends up getting skimmed by the reader 90% of the time anyway. Explaining--Oh.My.Gosh. I spend WAY too much time hitting you, my poor readers, over the head with things! Can you say "control freak"? I'm working really, really hard on subtlty, and on trusting you to be smart enough to figure things out without me pointing them out and clarifying and explaining all the time.

So anyway. I think the book is way better now.I'll have to compare versions to see how many words I ended up cutting--I slashed entire paragraphs, entire pages in more than once place. Granted in some places I replaced those paragraphs with new ones, though none of the pages got replaced with entire pages, that's for sure.

And I have to say, this book turned out SO much better than I expected. Struggling with it for so long, rewriting it twice (or was it three times? It's been so long--I started it back before Abby was born!--I forget now how many incarnations it's had!), I just couldn't see it objectively anymore. I always get to that point with my books, but with this one I just couldn't bear to think about it anymore. But taking that month away and then coming back to make those "few changes" gave me the perspective I needed, and now I'm feeling a lot better about it. If I had more time, there are some changes I'd make, but it's time to let it go. There are *always* more changes that can be made; eventually you just have to shut the laptop and say, "No more!"

And so, I am officially done with Reinventing Rachel. Until Nicci the Wonder Editor sends me her comments, anyway. Until then--I have a week to get the snowflake done for Muscle Memories, the book I'm NaNoWriMo'ing starting (hopefully) November 1. I worked some more on it yesterday while sitting in the car with two sleeping girls at REI in Denver. I'm almost done with the third step, and I figured out one of the parts I was stuck on, so that's good. Still looking for more layers, trying to build in more complexity and twists. I think those came more easily with The Weight of Shadows. I'm hoping, though, that as I continue to snowflake more of those will pop up.