Last night I woke abruptly from a dream in which I was reading the revision letter for the manuscript I'd sent in earlier this month. In the letter, my editor gently pointed out that I'd inserted a huge chunk of fanfic in the middle of the book, and I should be prepared to cut that section. She didn't think that we could get licensing rights for that property--particularly since I'd killed off one of their main characters.
I called my editor to discuss and informed her that the character in question NEEDED TO DIE. The ever-patient Anne agreed, and then pointed out, once again, the issue of licensing. [more]
This is how a writer's mind works. :) You seize upon something that is very frequently *totally* irrational, and gnaw it like it's coyote ugly. (It took three times to spell 'coyote' correctly. Given the title of my next book, you would not think that word would be a problem.) A while ago, having revised HEART OF STONE approximately nine hundred thousand times, I realized to my abject horror that the hero and the heroine's last names both started with the same letter. Now, I spend a lot of time thinking about character names and meanings and echoes and reflections and Stuff Like That. There were *reasons* for their names being what they were. But one of them is "Knight", and I don't think my brain ever fully registered that 'knight' starts with a K.
I spent three days completely obsessed with this detail and how people were going to think I was being cutsey and kitschy and other things ending in -y. My mother thought I was completely mad and that nobody would notice except a handful of people who might think there was Meaning to it. And really, this is a dumb thing to worry about. Still. Total obsession. Reality need not apply.
I have, for some value of fortunately, been sufficiently busy the last couple of years to not have time to share pbray's revisions nightmares. I don't like revision letters. They make me sulk, usually for several days. I inevitably read them as worse than they are, and when I go slinking back, licking my wounds, to face the grim words that my cruel editor (or agent) has sent down from on high, I generally end up thinking, "...well, ok, it's not *that* bad," and more irritatingly, "Yeah, yeah, she's right, dammit," and then suck it up and do the edits. There hasn't been much time to really dig down and wallow in nerves over the prospect of revisions, although I do worry, and much as I dislike revision letters, I *do* get a lot out of feedback. I actually got, today, the first structural feedback on HOUSE OF CARDS (from knappenp, who was good enough to read not only it, but also HEART OF STONE for the third time before reading HoC). It was a huge relief to get a little critical feedback on what was working and what could work better, and to discuss the things that I /wanted/ to work better but couldn't figure out how to do it.
matociquala has talked often about writing being a constant learning process, that once you master this thing that once seemed out of reach, you discover there's something new that you simply couldn't *see* before, and now you get to learn how to do /it/. I can sometimes feel myself hitting that wall, knowing that something's just out of my reach and not having quite obtained the skill set to fix it. Getting feedback can really help work through that kind of barrier.
I may have strayed off the point there. Or maybe I didn't. Hard to tell. Anyway, done typing for now. :)
miles to Dunharrow: 148