The REwriting life

Hi Fierce Friends!
Today I thought maybe I'd share with my fellow writers and readers the process of what happens after you turn a finished book into your editor, if you are, well, me.

I turned my new book, HIGHLAND REBEL, due out next March 2009, to my editor on June 1, after some agonizing days of trying to make my deadline. You see, even writers have lives, contrary to popular opinion, and my life, over the last year, has been fairly chaotic. I mean, when you tell your editor how long it will take you to write your book, how do you factor in things like having bronchitis twice, the whole family coming down with flu, your daughter moving back home with her daughter (love 'em), your 19-year-old cat dying, your granddaughter having explosive diarrhea, and just an overall bad case of the BLUES?

So I had to ask for a couple of extensions --- NAUGHTY, NAUGHTY!! Asking for extensions is a bad, bad thing. Luckily I have an understanding editor, but it was still NOT A GOOD THING! Still, I worked hard and got my book done in time to meet my second deadline and not ask for a third.

Now in my life, it is just a given that all stressful and important things must happen at the same time. I can't count the number of times when we have moved, had the flu, had a relative in the hospital, lost a job, and had a book deadline, all at the same time. What can I say? I attract chaos. So -- with that in mind, it makes perfect sense when I tell you that after waiting for my rewrites on the book (this is when your editor sends you an email listing everything that's wrong with your book and gives you, usually two weeks to fix them ) they arrived at the worst possible time. If you're me.

Out of the blue, I had been given the opportunity to make some extra money (and believe me, when you're a writer waiting for that next installment of your advance, extra money isn't extra - it's necessary!). A friend of mine who owns a restaurant in our town, asked me to help her set up a coffee house next to her restaurant. I had just really gotten into the whole project, when my granddaughter got very sick with a stomach virus/flu. She's almost three and was very miserable. My daughter and I had to be very hands on for two days, but I was proud of myself, I continued to work on my coffee project! Then - voila! - here came my rewrites! Gee, the universe hates me. God loves me, but the freaking universe hates me.

Usually rewrites are not that daunting to me. I like to rewrite. It's getting the initial story down that's challenging. So I wasn't too upset. I figured I could handle doing the rewrites and still continue with the work on the coffee house (opening Oct.1). But then I talked to my editor and - SURPRISE - this time, instead of having two weeks to fix my goofs, I only get ONE week. My fault entirely, you see, because I was a bad, bad writer and turned the book in late, so now I've put my editor and the entire publishing company behind. One thing as a writer you do NOT want to do, is make your editor look bad. And she's a sweetheart anyway, so I don't want to do anything to hurt her in any way.

So yesterday I'm off to the printer to have my entire book printed out again, because I need to work with a hard copy first and then transfer what I've figured out to the computer, and of course, my printer is on the blink. I'm just thanking God that I got my laptop (which crashed and burned a month ago) back from the Geeks at Best Buy the day before my editor called. At the printer's, I leave my thumbdrive and go to the grocery store, only to discover, once I return, that for some reason my file won't print, and I'll have to pick it up in the morning.

SO, like the naughty, naughty writer I am, I used this excuse to watch Fringe last night, feeling like the prisoner on Death Row eating his last meal. Today, my friends, is R-Day, the day the rewrites begin, or else. But I took the time to stop and write my BLOG!! Because that's another instance where I have been a NAUGHTY writer and missed you all last week because of this black hole in my life that sucks every spare minute of the day down into its dark and dirty depths!

Is the writing life as tragic as I've painted it? Probably not for most people, and golly gee, as soon as I finish these major rewrites in a week, I won't see this book again until the publisher is ready to send me the copy edits, which I will have a week to do, and then a couple of weeks later, I'll get the galleys to correct. If it's like last year, I'll have lots of free time to do them, because they'll arrive right in time for Christmas holidays! :))

The writing life is so much fun, y'all.

: )) Next week: How to remove bamboo shoots from under your fingernails.

KEEP WRITING! And as my dad used to say -- Don't let the bastards wear you down! Not that editors are bastards. Not at all. They are awesome people. Okay, I'm stopping now. See you next week! I'll let you know how the rewrites are going.


Anonymous said...

Wow. I could have written these words myself. I know this routine all too well. :-)

Vonda Sinclair said...

Wow you've been through the ringer, Tess!! Best of luck on those rewrites!

Anonymous said...

Tess....everything you write makes me smile! :-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tom, Vonda, and Nikki!! I appreciate your comments so much! :) Thanks for the good wishes and Nikki, I love making you smile!

Lexi said...

Wow, Tess! Reading your post has me exhausted!

Eliza Knight said...

Good luck on your rewrites Tess! I feel the same way sometimes...Glad to know there are others out there like me :)


Anonymous said...

Hi Lexi - yep, makes me exhausted too! hee hee!
Hi Eliza - misery loves company, right? ha!! Thanks both of you, for commenting! :))

Terry Spear/Terry Lee Wilde said...

I just went through those with Deadly Liaisons--what a job. Glad to be done, and off to finish another project. Which I now wish was done, and I was just doing edits on!!! Good luck, Tess!