Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Almighty Do Over

Credit HERE
At the day job, there are always month-end tasks. And end-of-quarter tasks. And end-of-year tasks. From one point of view, they are the extra work. The stuff not done on normal weeks. From another point of view, they are marks of achievement. Either way, the point is: there are specific things to be done before the job is considered complete.

Books are no different. There are rituals we do, checks we make along the way, and some at the end, which brings my ramble to our topic this week: Finishing Touches. (**That sounds like the title of an erotica story about a masseuse that may or may not have a happy ending...  See what I did there?) Alas, I ramble then I digress...which I can get away with in a blog, but not so much in a novel. Yes, I have plenty of work {finishing} to do at the end of a book. When under contract, my personal deadline is 6 weeks ahead of the actual deadline in order to allow time for A.) the life stuff that happens that would otherwise put me behind schedule, and B.) the finishing pain.

Okay, yes, that may be an exaggeration, 
but it feels like my editorial pen is 
ripping through my world like this:

When actually, it's more like this:

Carving out the story, wading through research, and stirring it into something brand new and uniquely your own is the fun. Hell yeah, pour me another stout shot of that Godlike Master of your own little Universe. But digging around after the fact, sifting through all those words for the errors, the over-usages, and the flaws can be grueling. It's taken me a while but now I view this as the bonus round.

Hey, I Googled Bonus Round; this was in the mix.
We'll call it "the gratuitous hero shot meant to inspire you."

After the end of the story is written I take some time away from that {insert a negative here because like many writers I have a "this is all crap, why did I bother" phase}, then, like my bordello-mates, I whip out the ever-evolving list of shit I typically screw up.

Psst. Wanna hear a secret?

That list is some 
seriously magical shit. 

It's absolutely crammed full 
with the power of the 

Here is where I get to showcase my craft, to sprinkle here and gush there, to take what words were weak and empower them with greater meaning and specificity. Here is where I go the extra mile, where I have the greatest opportunity to take all those strung together sentences and ensure the words become more than the sum of their parts. Sure, it's a story. It's got characterization, setting, dialogue. It's got a beginning, middle, and an end. But here is where those little things, those "a-ha's" get dropped in to link a few things you won't catch at first, but will mean more in the end. Here is where I amp up scenes and sequels. Here is where I put all I have learned so far to the test...and come away having learned something wonderful and new each time.

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