Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Upward Toward the Summit
Hobbits... that's where my mind is. Hobbits trudging up a steep shale-covered mountain in an quest to reach the top of Mt. Doom and throw the One Ring into its fiery depths. In many ways, finishing a book is much like that climb. You get some flat ground for a time and things are going good and then you hit some gorge or chasm or something large and furry with teeth with an appetite for Hobbits (or writers if none of the others are available). You vanquish the furry thing and move on. And on. Up and up. Eventually you reach the top with your finished manuscript in hand and toss it into the air where it is snatched up by your publisher. Task complete, you collapse into a weary heap, wondering how you'll ever get back down.
Overly dramatic? Not really. I often think of Halflings and great quests when I'm nearing the end of a book. Currently this one is in Revision #2 wherein I clean up the grammar, smooth out plot holes and try to determine why the hell some character waltzed in and then vanished forever. There's also those of vagaries of Victorian society, like which police station was located in Mayfair and where HRH the Prince of Wales was on the 11th of October.
All the while Gollum is whispering in my ear that my precccioussss is not going to be good enough, that my readers will reject it, that my editor will run off to join the French Foreign Legion because the thing is so bad. Gollum is very good at what he does.
The nice thing about getting to the top is that the manuscript goes heavenward (in this case Canada) and Gollum goes into the fiery depths. He always shows back up again for the next book, but at least for a few months the little weasel is quiet.
Now where was I? Ah, yeah, cue LOTR soundtrack, cue Hobbits... trudge.