Brain like a Triangle, Heart like a Wheel

Today, dear reader, my brain feels like a triangle.

Bzzzt! Photo Credit: YanivG via Compfight cc

Bzzzt!
Photo Credit: YanivG via Compfight cc

Yep. One of those ones, the type that spell ‘danger!’ This is a natural consequence of dividing my attention between three things, simultaneously: my almost-finished first draft of Eldritch, which, until last Friday, had been going well; the notes and ideas I’ve been getting for the book codenamed ‘Web’, which have been flooding my mind ever since I stopped working on it, and the fact that sometime early this week – perhaps even today or tomorrow – I’ll be getting back a bunch of edits on Emmeline from my agent.

There is much work to do on Emmeline. This I know. I’m preparing for the absolute worst – i.e. an editorial letter which tells me that my agent is sorry she ever signed me to begin with, and that she must have been crazy to think she could slap this sorry excuse for a book into some sort of shape – in the hope that it won’t seem as bad as that when it actually happens.

I’ve also been practising my deep, cleansing breaths.

(I may also have purchased a bottle of whiskey to have handy while reading the edits, but that’s our secret).

I’ve been busy while waiting for these edits to arrive, of course – I’ve added over seven thousand words to Eldritch since last week, which I think is pretty good progress. There’s still a way to go with it, however, and I won’t be finished before I start working on Emmeline again. What this means is I’ll be knee-deep in edits while my brain is screaming about stuff that I should be doing to the other books, and so I’ll probably be doing a lot of gentle gibbering and rocking in corners alongside the actual work.

Straightforward? Pshaw. Who cares about straightforward?

I do feel rather in a spin today, though, all truth being told. I have asked (nay, begged) one of my extremely kind writery-type friends for help, a person who has been through the whole ‘agent edits your book’ scenario before (she managed to survive mostly intact), and she gave me some useful tips. Boiled down, these are:

It’s never as bad as you think – to which I say ‘Don’t tempt fate’;

Everyone needs a lot of help the first time – to which I say ‘There go my dreams of being a middle-aged child prodigy’;

Take your time with the edits, and read them all through at least once before you start changing your MS – to which I say ‘Sounds quite sensible, actually,’ and

Remember that the point of editing is to make the book better– to which I say ‘Yes, I know. When I’m editing other people’s work, I always do it in order to help, and to make their good ideas clearer – but it’s dang hard to remember that when it’s your own work on the chopping block.’

Muuuaahahahahahaaa! Photo Credit: Erindxl via Compfight cc

Muuuaahahahahahaaa!
Photo Credit: Erindxl via Compfight cc

So. Bear with me over the next few days if the blogging schedule goes a bit awry. It’s not that I’ve forgotten you – it’s just that I’ll be sitting in a darkened room singing old Linda Ronstadt songs and wondering where my life went wrong, and contemplating a new and glittering career as a sheep-herder in the steppes.

That’s all.

Nothing to worry about.

And maybe my friend is right, and the edits won’t be as horrendous as I feared, and I’ll be back here in a few days with a bounce in my step.

But just in case, here’s some Linda Ronstadt.

 

**Edit: Before someone jumps in and corrects me, yes I know ‘Heart Like a Wheel’ is an Anna McGarrigle song. I just can’t pass Linda Ronstadt’s version, though. Adieu!**

 

2 thoughts on “Brain like a Triangle, Heart like a Wheel

  1. Maurice A. Barry

    Back in he day when it was my job to manage content creation a major part of the work was ensuring that the edit cycle proceeded smoothly. I recall vividly the procedure I expected our authors to follow once they received edits. For each note or comment they had to choose between (1) directly following the advice from the edit (2) implementing a change they deemed superior to the one suggested or (3) do noting. If #3 was the choice then I expected, in turn, an explanation from the author as to why they made that choice. In all my years of doing this I do not recall getting a single #3. Perhaps it happened but the occurrences were so few that they have nor registered.
    Now as an author myself (non-fiction I can say without doubt that I never minded the first wave of edits. No it was the second and third when I found the reviewers going back on choices they had made previously…
    Oh, and one final thing. I am absolutely sure that your worst fears will never be true; far from it, in fact.

    Reply
    1. SJ O'Hart Post author

      That sounds about right! I’m not really dreading being edited, as such – because, of course, everything needs editing – but the *feeling* of being edited. I dread the thought that I’ll look silly, or stupid, or that my agent has spent the past two weeks rolling her eyes at my ridiculous word choices and/or ideas.

      You’d think at my advanced age I’d have managed to get over all that, wouldn’t you? Well. Not so much. 🙂

      Thanks for your comment, and your kind understanding. Let’s hope it won’t be as bad as I’m imagining!

      Reply

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