Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The Fun Part: The Final Polish

From Paul's Messy Desk...

I woke up spitting sand.  Someone was kicking me in the ribs.

That's the opening paragraph of my "work-in-progress," which is undergoing the metamorphoses to "book."

It's titled "State vs. Lassiter," and yesterday I received my editor's notes.  I am blessed to have a great editor.  In her notes, she asked two overall character questions and 134 carefully crafted line notes.  It should take two long days to address them all. 

This brings to mind by a question  posed to me on a Linked-In writing group earlier this week.  A budding author asked if I have ever re-written a chapter.

Ever?  Like, when have I not?  If you count re-writes, minor edits, and polishes, I probably re-do each chapter a dozen times BEFORE any editor sees my words.  What about you folks?

As many authors have noted before me, coming down the home stretch is the fun time.  This is when you can shine your work to a high gloss.  This will be my 17th novel, and this part of the process remains my favorite. 

As for the book itself, Jake Lassiter goes on trial as the DEFENDANT after all the evidence points to him in the homicide of his banker/girlfriend.  About half the book consists of a trial for first degree murder.

So, I'm locking myself in today and working on the manuscript this one LAST TIME.

Then, thanks to the generosity of a friend with floor seats, I'll be at the Bucks/Heat playoff game tonight.  Go Heat!

Folks, it just doesn't get any better.

Paul Levine


  1. I'm with you, Paulie. I love the editing part of writing. Creating is torture.

    Have fun at the game. Wish I had as much enthusiasm about the Lakers. Sigh.

  2. from Jacqueline

    You know, I'm not a lazy person. I work very hard at my writing, but for the life of me, when I hit my deadline, all I have time to do is click on the spell-check. I write my first draft without looking back, without tinkering, because I just want to get the story that's been rolling around in my head down on the page. My editor knows this, and she knows that, while she's going through the first read, I'm working away on a massive read-through with my take-no-prisoners red pen in hand - weeding, finessing and generally kneading the clay on the wheel. Then she gives me her edits, which amount to suggestions, and I get to work taking the story apart and putting it together again using both our notes. I do everything suggested unless I really don't want to do it. I don't argue, I don't whine, but I just don't do anything I don't want to do - and generally, there isn't much that I wouldn't do, because I trust my editor's judgement. After that process, my editor gets what is effectively the second version, and we do one more go-around and then it's basically off to the copyeditor. That might sound mind-swimmingly swift, but it works for us and began quite a few books ago, when she said that she really would have liked to see a party that was simply mentioned but not described. "Oh, I said, "I wrote the scene but pulled it out, because I thought it was too much." She told me to put it back in, and in future, not to start taking things out until she'd seen the manuscript, even if it was really raw - she thought I was a bit like a Attilla the Hun with a pair of hedge-trimmers when it came to my own manuscripts. I think the thing is that I have the whole book in my head before i sit down to write, but just like everyone else, that first draft is simply the clay on the wheel, nothing more. And I love kneading and working that clay - I just wish I had more time to get my hands dirty before sending it away, but I don't. But deadlines are there for a reason, and even if your world crumbles around you - as mine did last year - you still have to keep to that deadline if you want to be in this business. A printing press somewhere has been booked to make your story into a book, which, hopefully, a raft of readers and bookstores are waiting for! It's a balance, because you want that book, bearing your name, to be the very best book you can write.

  3. from Jacqueline

    Sorry about that - was much longer than I intended ....

  4. A very timely post for me, and I thank you. The story is told, as I said to a friend; now, I am figuring out a better way to tell it. I am finding that the process involves not only deleting but also creating new scenes and a heckuva lot of rearranging.