I’m going to Calgary later this week–so I can give a couple of Saturday workshops to Calgary Romance Writers of America. So I had to do the manuscript right away so I could get it back to Berkley before the deadline.
As I was working, I thought about my writing habits. The parts I like least are the first draft and the galleys. I hate facing a blank page. So I write my first draft as fast as I can. Once I get that draft, I can edit it within an inch of its life. Every book I write goes through four or five edits. One on the screen and then three or four on paper, because everything changes, and I see the manuscript differently when it’s on paper.
That’s just the way I work. I can’t get the story and the characters all at once. I have to layer my way into a good story. And doing those layers is incredibly satisfying to me.
Then–-months later–I get the copyedited manuscript. I always cringe as I wonder what questions the copy editor will ask me. I look down the right side of the pages to see how many yellow Post-It notes I see–because they have the questions I’m going to have to answer.
But I also think of the copyedited manuscript as an opportunity. I haven’t seen the book in a long time. Now I can read it with fresh eyes. This is my last chance to catch places where I’ve used the same word five times in a row. Or where I forgot the name of the bad guy’s imaginary daughter. (Yeah, I did that. And I caught it, not the copy editor.)
But I also get some wonderful opportunities to make the book as good as it can be. Do the emotions of the characters shine through? Are the love scenes hot? Is there anything awkward about them? Are the danger scenes frightening? Is the pace of the novel working? Do I need to take out any sentences? Did I give the reader enough gratification at the end?
Since I haven’t seen this manuscript in a long time, I can react to it the way you would. The good news is that I enjoyed reading ETERNAL MOON. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen it, and I had that usual experience with galleys–“I wrote that?”
If you’re a writer, what do you like best about the process? And what do you like least?
If you’re a reader, what do you want to see in a book? What don’t you want to see?
To be brutally honest, the best part for me is when I’ve sold a book–and I don’t have to start writing it yet! <g>