"Write drunk, edit sober." - Ernest Hemingway
"I hate editors, for they make me abandon a lot of perfectly good English words." - Mark Twain
There comes a time in every author's life when you have to sit back, shift gears, and accept that maybe the crap you wrote in your draft-creating fervor was really just that--crap. Then, if you're really silly like me and write more than one book, you get to do it multiple times.
Nope, doesn't get any easier. Matter of fact, it seems to get a little harder, as every time I plow through a novel draft I figure I'm getting better than ever before, that maybe this time I'm creating good stuff.
I'm not sure if it hits every author as hard as it does me. The shift, as I call it, is almost depressing at first. It really is two different sides of my brain being used at separate times. I mean, the revising gets better, and easier, once I've made the shift and am in that zone. In fact, there's really no feeling quite like once you really get that prose revised to the point where it starts singing to you.
Right now, by the way, is one of those times, the shift. I just finished the draft of the second book of the Dragon Queen series, with a draft title of Northern Exposure. It's, I think, a captivating story of Alyssa heading north to seek approval from the Northern Clans, only--well, of course--she finds trouble. You didn't expect me to write that she waltzed up there, had a bit of moose stew, and they said "you're all right," did you? Writing it, I had a lot of fun drawing from my own memories of the Great White North, and I also enjoyed playing around with the relationship between Alyssa and Prince Charming some more. Alyssa is growing up, you see, and so she, and that relationship too, changed a little bit.
*sigh* So I finished it; now what do I do?
The first, negative answer: not create. We're too close to NaNoWriMo (November, for the uninitiated) to start another novel draft. We're also too close to me finishing Book 2 to revise Book 2; I need at least a month of separation between the two activities. I've spent some time redesigning Book 1's cover, and that was fun. I've also spent some time learning more about Internet marketing, and about Adwords vs. Bing Words, and--well, all that other less-than-terribly-exciting stuff.
Trust me, I'm'a gonna build that sales funnel some day. But first, I write.
No, more accurately, I revise. Luckily for my decision process, I have a few works that outright need my attention. There are a couple of short stories that have each been rejected twice, which means I need to look into them again. More importantly, though, my memoir detailing my many trips up and down the Alaska Highway, The Long and Winding Road, needs some straightening out (hehe--get it? Eh, never mind).
So I opened that beast up in Scrivener, and started at the beginning. Three paragraphs in, it hit me.
Oh, crap. This is crap. I must make it good.
Just that fast, I'm back to editing. Time to shift sides of my brain.
And speaking of that, I really do need to get back to editing. Y'all have a great night and a great week!