Saturday, May 24, 2008

The 99 percent perspiration of writing

Writing is 1% inspiration but 99% perspiration.
I am in the editing the part now and that statement rings true in many ways. It is the working through of things that are not quite right and the trying to up the emotion and keep the focus on the romance. It is the going through and looking at each sentence and trying to see if there is a better way to say it. Is the POV strong enough or can it be sharpened? Am I happy with the word choice? Can I decipher my gesture of the book -- always different and always repeated far too often.

I know I will do it all again at the revision stage but in many ways there is a certain amount of satisfaction in polishing. It is about making the book better. I do love the phase but also it is a short phase for me.

Some people get stuck at this stage and never submit. They use it as a kind of hurdle. But generally I have other characters calling me and I want to get on to the next story. There comes a point when I think -- okay, I have done my best and now the story needs the independent eyes of my editor. I bravely send it off and about five minutes later, I suffer attacks of the crows and why didn't I do things another way thoughts. It is part of the process of letting go.

Anyway, I am in the second phase of editing -- the going through at random to tighten POV and heighten tension phase.It is quite satisfying in a way, but at the end I always feel that I have had enough.
What is ironic is that in revisions, I will look at the same work and see how I can really bleed on the page...

It is bank holiday weekend here and memorial day weekend in the US. Memorial Day came about after the US Civil War so that people could have time to go to the battlefields and tend the memorials to the fallen . Gettysburg for instance is covered in memorials. It was orignally to honour the fallen of the Civil War but was changed after WWI to honour all the fallen from all the wars. It was at least this point that many Southern states began celebrating the day as they used to remember Confederate dead on a different date. Much as the British do on Rembrance Day, it was a day for wearing red poppies and the VFW still has this program I believe.
It is supposed to be a day of remembering, but because going to tend memorials often meant a picnic, it has turned into a day of barbecues etc. This came about particularly after 1971 when it was made into a three day weekend, rather than simply being 30 May. And in some ways that is good as the soldiers fought to preserve American freedoms. But it is sad that the real meaning has been forgotten.

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