Wednesday, February 21, 2007


I got over my alarm clock woes, but had a fun bit of serendipity with the clock radio alarm this morning. The alarm went off just as DEVO was saying "Crack that whip!" Talk about a motivating start to the morning! "When a problem comes along, you must whip it!" And boy, do I need the whip cracked today. I have a freelance project I have to get done, and then those book revisions, and I also have revisions to do on that essay for the House book. Part of my problem with not getting work done yesterday was the fact that House wasn't on and I finally got frustrated and gave up on The Gilmore Girls. I usually do my freelance work while watching my Tuesday night TV, but without TV I worked on book revisions and forgot to do my radio scripts. Oops. I'm also almost done with my reading for judging the Rita awards. Then I have a book to read for a possible cover blurb, and then I can go back to reading for fun the things I want to read. Woo hoo!

The revisions are turning out to be challenging. I'm in two steps forward, one step back mode at the moment. I'll revise a chapter, then that night I'll think of something else to add to it, so I have to go back and do that chapter again. I'm also juggling input from both my editor and my agent, and while they generally comment on different things, there are times when they're in direct conflict. On a passage my agent highlighted as maybe being unnecessary and something I should consider cutting entirely, my editor had underlined it and written "love it!" in the margin. In those cases, I go with the one I agree with the most.

I'm also having to learn to stand up for myself better instead of just taking input. I come from a journalism and public relations background. When you're a journalist and your editor changes something in your story, unless it's a factual error and you have documentation showing that what the editor changed is wrong, you don't go protesting and refusing to make changes because you had a very specific reason for stating things that way. In public relations, the client gets final say, and when they make changes, the changes stay. But in this world, most of the edits are more suggestions. The author does have more freedom to consider and even reject suggestions. My instinct is to think, "Well, they said I have to change it." Then there's the competing instinct to get stubborn and refuse to change something because I had a very compelling reason for doing things that way, if only I could remember what it was. What I'm trying to do now is look at the suggestion, then re-read the part in question, imagine it changed, then weigh that against the way it is. Then I'll decide what to do. In this book, there was one scene where I thought taking the suggested approach would actually be better, but then there was another where I tried playing the scene out in my head in the new way, and it didn't work, so I didn't change it. There have been times when the suggestion is flat-out wrong, mostly because the person making the suggestion missed the point, and that's usually because I need to fix something that makes that point clearer. Whenever I see one of those "Huh?" suggestions, I try to find where the confusion arose and fix that. Often, I can see where the person making suggestions is going with an idea, and then I can find my own way of carrying it out.

There's something emotionally draining about this whole process, balancing what I want against what others want and what's best for the book. Today, I get to write a whole new scene to make better use of a secondary character and to provide a punch line for a joke it seems I've been setting up throughout the book but never did anything with. Sometimes I think my subconscious has ADD. It sets something up, weaves all the hints into place, and then it gets distracted by something shiny and forgets about it so that my conscious brain has to then recognize the pattern and complete it.

Now, in other news, we have prizes! I had four advance copies of Damsel Under Stress, and would you believe, I had four people who met their writing month goals! So, Jana, Miriam, tarysande and Melody need to e-mail me with their snail mail addresses (

But wait, there's more! I got my hands on some more copies, so I did a drawing among the people who participated and gave me their results but who didn't quite meet their goals. parke_matru, you need to send me your mailing address, too.

I may have a couple more copies, so I'll have to figure out how to give those away.

I would ask that those of you who do get these advance copies not spill spoilers. And I really don't want to see them show up on eBay before the book is released. That would make me sad.

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