With the rough draft of the first book of the trilogy completed, I met with my editor/writing coach, Alida Winternheimer. I always glean great insights from our conversations. My first question involved the next steps. I needed to know all about the “revision” process. We both chuckled. Alida and I know how analytical I am.
As an aside, during the creation of the rough draft, Alida would ask for samples. I would submit a chapter that I had, in my mind, definitely nailed. The edits would come back. Some comments were positive, but most indicated areas of improvement. An edit “2 by 4” was listed next to one paragraph. Curious, I wondered what it meant. Alida politely explained, “You are hitting the reader over the head with a two by four board.” In other words, too much detail. I responded with a laugh since my two vocations involved law and investment management where every detail mattered. With a simple edit, Alida had demonstrated my greatest weakness. Hopefully, as I “revision”, I will leave more to the imagination.
Alida advised one approach to “revision” involved printing out the entire book. To accomplish this, I purchased an additional black cartridge for my printer. Then she instructed me to read the draft like a novel. Make notes on the sides of the pages, such as where holes exist in the story, where things don’t make sense, where 2 by 4’s exist. Then go back and rewrite. She cautioned that once you find one hole or change, it could lead to others. Finally, she told me I should allow the story to rest and not write for thirty days.
So this month I attempted to unwind, but like an itch that begs to be scratched, I found it hard to let go. I didn’t write, but I thought about timelines, book titles, characters, and storylines. I also began to develop scenes in my head for the second and third books.
Toward the end of the month, I found myself sitting in a store located in the former meatpacking district of NYC. The slaughterhouses containing bloody meat hanging from large hooks had been replaced with trendy shops. The merchandise now hung from a more petite apparatus. I sat watching patrons as my spouse and daughter browsed. A large man dressed in black, jeans and a t-shirt, paced the floor with a cell phone attached to his ear. He repeated “yeah” rapidly like a machine gun in a deep base voice. The room breathed a sigh of relief when he finally terminated the call. He joined his wife nodding his head or softly asking if he should purchase an item. Then I noticed. Throughout these various exchanges, the expression on his face never changed. Deadpan in every instance. I quickly typed a note on my phone. The emotionless man. What a great character he could make for the next book!
Technically I failed to unwind. I couldn’t help myself. I really wanted to rest, but I kept thinking about the novel. As the comedian, Flip Wilson stated on the Ed Sullivan show in 1970: “The devil made me do it!” Attached is a link to Wilson’s routine. Enjoy!
“Copy and paste” or “click on” the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SLifea3NHQ