Torch is nearly done. The third book in the Unbreakable Bonds series goes to the editing team that we’ve hired to clean up our messes. Rinda and I have both reached that part where we are picking apart the little things in the book. There was one section where I spent an hour emailing and debating a section that came down to one sentence. It’s the point where you start picking apart the various layers and examine them one by one, weighing their effectiveness. It’s the least pretty part of the writing process.
I’ll admit that I’m one of those writers where I allow myself to throw everything in during the rough draft. I let the characters have temper tantrums, say horrible things, and do horrible things. I let them shout and cry and laugh a little more than necessary. The characters and I break a lot of stuff during the rough draft process. We shatter, crush, beat, and burn the world. (I think I’ve even scared Rinda a bit during this process.)
But the key is that the characters and I have to get all our mad impulses out during the rough draft process. You just gotta let the freak fly.
Because when it comes to the editing process, the controller moves into position. It’s almost as if I’m Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. (Mr. Hyde is the one who gets to have all the fun in rough draft.)
The control freak, the scientist, the analyst – that’s the person who moves in and carefully examines every inch of the book. It’s not just weighing the scene against other scenes and the long-term impacts for the plot, but it’s weighing specific words as well. (In Torch, I spent 20 minutes analyzing the impact of “…maybe” in the book. Was is misleading? Did it give the wrong emotional impression? Was it too early?)
Dr. Jekyll loves to rein in Mr. Hyde, to pull in those scenes where the character’s action are a little too much. Of course, Dr. Jekyll doesn’t always win, but it’s a good push/pull relationship where we end up with a good book in the middle.
As you may have guessed, writing a book is a lot like making sausage. You don’t really want to know about the process… you just want to enjoy the final product.
And don’t worry about Rinda. She’s learned to handle my split personality just fine. She knows to send me sexy pictures to keep my Mr. Hyde in line.