Is It Done Done, or Half-Done?

Only the Editor knows for sure.  But I hope it’s done done and gone, because after a time a book being worked on has definitely lost its savor for the writer.   Sent it off yesterday.   There wasn’t dancing in the street, because I was stiff from sitting at the computer for hours a day and my eyes hurt, but there was rejoicing, nonetheless.  I have noticed, in the decades I’ve been sending things off and getting comments back, that editors are prone to say things like ‘just a few tweaks’  when, to the writer, the quantity and complexity of notes and tasks feels like someone’s just rolled that stone back down the hill and you’re going to have to dig it out of the mud, resculpt it to a smooth impervious sphere (you hope) and roll it back up.  The really terrifying words are “This really shouldn’t take you too long…”  (They weren’t said this time, but I remember the hollow feeling I had when they were, and the things to be changed were numerous and not as simple as then-editor thought.  Not simple for me, anyway.)

It ate my week, cost me exercise days (again!) and interfered with my earlier plans for buying a few new things for DragonCon.  Cost me sleep, too.  Yesterday after sending it off I took the first nap in a week, and slept more than 5 hours last night.  Yay for sleep.  Perks up the aging brain like nothing else, so long as that’s not all you do.  So this morning I rode my bike and calculated that I could go on and ride almost the distance I’d planned to reach today before the crunch started.   8.66 miles, not 8.75, but a solid jump from 8.1, which was back then.    On the bright side, I found that skipping those days–while contributing nothing to my fitness level–did not result in much loss of condition.   So I was able to ride 8 miles and 0.66 more.

The book is better…the biggest improvement this time was Editor pointing out that 8 + 6 was 14, not 7.   I hadn’t thought 8 + 6 was 7, because that would be really lame, but I had thought 28 + 14 was 35, not 42, (I was multiplying 7s, and simply forgot about 6 * 7)  which–in the book–amounts to the same thing.   It’s one of those things where if a train leaves NYC for Chicago at 5:28 and travels at 52 mph and another train leaves NYC for Chicago on a different track and travels at 59 mph,  will they reach Chicago at the same time or nearly?    Not trains, and not NYC and Chicago, but I needed the ships (not trains) to arrive in Port Major at about the same time and in bad weather.   Not bad enough they’d sink, but bad enough they weren’t easy to spot until they were in the harbor.   I think I mentioned that I was getting increasingly tired through the first rewrite, and the first things to go with me when I’m really tired these days are multitasking  and math.  I’d like t0 blame it on that, but maybe not.    Today, rested, I was able to calculate (when I passed our driveway at 7.72 miles, riding at about 12 mph)  how much farther I had to go to reach 8.5, and what the bike computer should read when I turned back  (it was close to the end of the street, so I went to the end, even though that was going to be longer.)  When I’m tired I can’t do that while riding on the bike with enough attention on the road.

So what else can I tell you?   Well…you might want to reserve absolute belief in what people say.  OUR side tells the truth as they know it, but they can be mistaken.  The OTHER side may or may not, even to their allies.    Thus if A says this happened because X was lazy and careless, and B says this happened because someone (unnamed)  interfered…either one might be right, or they could both be wrong.  There are other-side POV sections in this book, and their actions speak truth more than their words….readers will know more than the protagonists at some point (and more than the opposition on other points.)  There’s considerable blundering around the dark going on.  There are legal, political, financial, and military subplots (or at least influences.)   And there are dogs.  Blame my new web-guru Karen for that. She didn’t tell me to, but I have been held down by several of her Golden Retrievers from time to time, and the memory of my mother telling me about the dog that helped me learn to stand and walk (Blondie, a Golden/Chow cross)  forced dogs in.  No collies (my own dog, Lad, was a collie and a wonderful help in difficult years.)

Re-reading the end of Cold Welcome won’t hurt (many of you are, I know) ,  as some of the characters will recur and Into the Fire starts the next day.   Characters are several years older, and I hope several years smarter.  You will finally find out what really happened (or part of it) to Great-aunt Grace that put her in a psychiatric hospital.   And some other things.  I’d better go now, and get back to the bread dough.


5 thoughts on “Is It Done Done, or Half-Done?

  1. Remember the comment from the Princess Bride – the hero was only mostly dead – not completely dead.

    And don’t sweat the small stuff – it is fun for the reader to find the little inconsistencies and misspellings. It makes for a more interesting read – it also means we can’t just skim but have to really read.

    Relax – life is fun.

    Jonathan up here in hot New Hampshire

  2. And now (post accident, weeks later) I see that I said INTO THE FIRE started the day after COLD WELCOME ended and the characters were several years older….neat trick there, Moon. They’re several years older than the end of the first group of Vatta books. Only one day older than in COLD WELCOME.

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