There’s a bug in my wine
By Thonie Hevron
This week, I reached another goal. I finished the first draft of my second (actually, third) novel. This would be the second in my “Nick and Meredith” series. While I think that is worthy of celebration, as my husband remarked, it is just the beginning of the toughest part of writing—editing.
I have to admit that I cannot edit my own work. Not many authors can. The eye sees words that aren’t really there but are supposed to be, nullifying the entire operation. I know what I mean to say so my sentences are clear and concise—but not necessarily to another reader. So I have my bag of tricks that I will employ to get the job done: SmartEdit-a software program that “proofs” text for specifics like repeated words, too many adjectives and adverbs, and so on. After that, I’ll read the entire book out loud to see how the words sound together.
Then, come the big guns: beta readers. I’m blessed with enough supportive family and friends who will tell me the truth. I have a half dozen people picked for specific purposes. Maria will read for technical police stuff, Cousin Sandie continuity and word choice, LaRae for “real police woman” feel, Andy for general story atmosphere and Susan for story clarity.
Plenty of authors had written books on their own but I’d wager that few have published them without the support of the people such are listed above. My stories start and end with my husband. He calls himself my “staff”. Funny. He cooks so I can write.
The second part of this post is about something revolutionary in the Hevron household: several weeks ago, my “staff” and I discussed how almost two weeks had passed since I wrote a syllable. Well, damn. Its summertime and I want to paddle my kayak around, ride my horse and generally have a life. Last week, while out with our camper I considered this. The sun was dropping behind the redwoods of the Russian River, winged things flew around and my “staff” and I settled into our lawn chairs to enjoy a fine Kenwood Merlot. I was glowing from the moment (and the wine) and the satisfaction of a year and a half’s planning and executing to bring us to that point in time. Then a bug flew into my wine.
So it is with life. I knew something had to change if I was ever going to be serious about writing. So I fished the little gnat (or whatever it was) out and drank the wine. I didn’t want to miss this—bugs and all. Then, the day we returned, while I was still mulling over my situation, we caught an inspirational interview with Mary Higgins Clark. Hubby suggested (to my horror) that I might follow her example. This successful author who is well into her eighties, gets up at 5 am and writes until 7 or 9 or whatever. She’s done that since she was a sales clerk trying to feed 5 hungry children over 40 years ago.
I gave the idea a few moments consideration and once my heart slowed down, I realized she had something. Anyone who knows me, knows that I hate getting up early. When I retired two years ago, it was all I could do to roll out of bed at 7am to get to the gym. Well, something changed. I guess I found that by re-arranging my day, I could have more of it. Writing is a priority but so is life. I want to do it all.
I go to the gym, kayak, ride my horse, day-trip and camp with my “staff” and have lots of family and friends with whom I enjoy spending time. If I could only get to bed an hour earlier, getting up might not be so bad.
And it wasn’t. The first morning the alarm went off, both feet hit the floor. Not so bad. Dogs go out to piddle, coffee is poured, and then I fire up the computer for 2 solid hours of writing. Now, I miss my early mornings when I don’t have one scheduled. Go figure.
The bottom line is that I am kicking ass with my manuscript. I hope to have it completed by September. I will be entering it in two contests providing I am reading the rules correctly. There is no caveat about submitting published books. The winner of both contests get epublished as well as a bound book.
I’ll keep you posted.