Thursday, December 28, 2006

Okay, I Opened It

And of course, since I angsted over it for days, it wasn't that bad. But here is what's annoying: her main points are things that could have easily been addressed in Edit 8, 7, 6, 5, 3 or 3. Why it did not bother The Editor/Dominatrix until Edit 9 remains a mystery.

But I know this: every time you look at something and try to find something wrong, you will. Unless you have a deadline. If you have a deadline, you make damn sure that everything is addressed that needs to be addressed. Deadlines mean you do what needs to be done, and say what needs to be said the first time.

The Dominatrix needs her boss to give her a goddamn deadline. Otherwise I'm going to have to change her name to Columbo.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Still Unopened, Not a Gift

I really really thought I was going to open it this morning, but I'm not ready. For one thing, I'm sober. And more importantly, I'm angry. I really have to wait until the combination of "I can't believe I have to rewrite this again" plus "I can't believe this arrived at Christmas" dissipates.

The torture of rewriting to satisy a single stranger is something that cannot be taught. If a course like "Writing to Please A Picky Yet Indecisive Dominatrix" was featured in MFA programs, attendance might dwindle.

My Former Agent used to delight in gossiping about her editor friends who had acquired first novels. "Oh they got that for a song," she'd say. "The manuscript was a mess." As writers, we think of the industry as wanting to buy only perfection: novels polished down to the punctuation, researched for a decade, these are the books that get sold for top dollar. These are the books they want, editors are lazy. That's what writers think.

Writers are wrong. Publishers also want flawed books with extremely strong premises--because they can buy them for a song and edit the crap out of them and send writers into the loony bin.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve: And I'm Not Opening It

I'm not opening it. If I open it, I won't be able to work on it anyway, I'll just be able to worry about it. If I open it, I won't be able to call the people who understand my pain, such as: The Agent, The Screenwriter, The Writing Teacher or The Fellow Authors because it's Christmas and you can't call people to complain on Christmas unless you've been sent something much worse in the mail, like antrax.

Last year, around this same time, opening the 4th edited manuscript yielded symptoms similar to anthrax exposure, due to comments which, loosely translated, amounted to: "I hate the main characters and something's missing in the plot. So add more pages and put in more sex."

Actually, now that i see that written down, I'm making her comments sound clear. It was more like, "I don't like your book. Fix it, and put in some sex."

As much as I needed to be committed after that revision--which began using skills like Mind-Reading, and ended with me re-reading every book on revising fiction i had and trying to just make it better and longer and more literary to try to fool her into believing i understood what the fuck she wanted, Revision 6 was probably the worst.

Because Revision 6 was the one in which she rescinded what she asked to be revised in Revision 5.

Now do you see why I can't open Revision 9? Make it blue. No, green. Oh, maybe yellow?

Friday, December 22, 2006

Could My Editor/Dominatrix Be Jewish?

It's here. The Dominatrix has timed her edited manuscript to arrive just as i put on Mitch Miller and start making eggnog. Damn her! I am not going to open it. It makes me physically ill just to look at the package. Since previous packages have nearly sent me into therapy I am not going to open it until I am ready and/or drunk.

The Book With No Title

My editor has not sent the manuscript back to me for the ninth edit, but it is due any day, if i can find it in the pile of Christmas packages that arrive daily due to my frenized realization that my children might be expecting gifts. All of the edits from The Dominatrix, as i call her behind her back, are carefully timed to coincide with holidays or vacations. To date, I've revised over two Christmases, two Easter breaks, two summer vacations, and wait that's only eight vacations ruined, I'm missing one. Maybe Fourth of July. "Mommy, look at the fireworks!" "Girls, you know better than to bother your mother when she's refining the backstory!"

And if anyone ever steals my computer and sees all my stickie reminders to make my heroine spunky, they will think i'm a drug dealer. Actually, I should consider taking up drug dealing, since the publishing company has paid approximately me approximately 1/2 a cent per month that i have put into this book.

But what does this matter? Soon I will be published. Soon, I tell myself. The book's launch date has moved from March 2006 to March 2007 to June 2007 to July 2007 to January 2008. Of course no one knows what the title of the book will be, since The Agent and The Dominatrix and The Foreign Publishers do not agree on what the best title is. Yes, it's true, my book will be published in the U.S., Russia, Holland, and Australia and who knows where else with no title. Every week a new title is dreamed up by someone, and every week i say, "Well, that was on the list of titles I came up with three years ago, so I guess I like it."

Titles are overrated anyway. I mean The Firm and The Stand sound like the same book and one sucks and one rocks, so what does it matter?