Monday, January 25, 2010

I Scream, You Scream. We All Scream at Editing.

Courtesy of the website

Okay, I must confess. This was me yesterday. Literally. I received the news most authors dread to hear. That your wonderful book did not make the grade with the editors. Look, I remember those papers we handed in in school. They had big red pen marks on them and a large letter on top that was the grade. Well, I got my grade from the editors. And it was not an A. Not a B either. Maybe a C for the idea only. But the writing was bad. The plot was wrong. The characterizations were lacking. It was poor work. It hovered at an F.

AAGH. I screamed. More out of the realization of how much work I would need to do to make it right. Like having to rewrite a good portion of the book (with many scenes from scratch). And all of this when I had another book due in that I was currently working on. And having only a few weeks to accomplish the revision.

Then for some reason I remembered a quote I saw on Anne of Green Gables, in the second movie. Gilbert is complaining about Anne's article that won a baking powder contest instead of something superior. The style, the mumbo jumbo, the poor plot. She screams at him. And he says quite plainly, "You can cry all you want. It won't make you write a better novel." That scene helped settle me down. Nothing was going to change unless I calmed myself and got down to business.

And I realized something else, too. This is not my little book. These are not my ideas. The book was entrusted to me by God. It's His work. I am a vessel of His truth through fiction. And I need to do it the best way I know how. I often wonder if God made some of the apostles rewrite books of the Bible because it wasn't what He wanted. :) That some of man's ideas were thrust in there, and He said calmly, Do it over, please. Of course that probably didn't happen. But I wonder. And if so, the end result was worth it--a life changing message that affects people today.

And so I have stopped screaming and have settled down. The rewrite is massive--the most I have ever had to do for a novel. But for all I know, it could be my best book ever. And that's a book worth writing...

1 comment:

Robin Bayne said...

This is a very good piece, Lauralee. I like how you think of your work as something entrusted to you : )