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.

2 comments:

steve said...

It's an interesting metaphor. But for someone like me, who read and reread Harvard Lampoon's "Bored of the Rings" long before I read the real thing, I'd be Frito, trudging with the Ring to the Zazu Tar Pits, being menaced by the evil wizards Sorhed and Serutan ("Serutan spelled backward is mud"), and being accompanied by Spam and followed by the clown Goddam. And once I got to the Tar Pits, But, according to the script, I'd have to heave Goddam in with my manuscript. That's what I get for reading the parodies first.

P.S. I recently ordered Sojourn through Amazon.

Jana Oliver said...

Steve,

I LOVED "Bored of the Rings". What a great parody. Still can quote bits from that book. If I remember correctly, Spam or one of the other hobbits had a penchant for molesting squirrels. rolls eyes)

Trust me, there are times I am tempted to toss the mss and Gollum into the fires of Doom together. Middle books of any trilogy are ugly. You need to do a bit of backstory so folks who happen to fall over this book first have a clue what is going on. And you need to have enough cool stuff happening so they want to plunk down their hard-earned cash to get Book #3.

As to your recent purchase -- bless you! Let me know what you think (good and bad). Authors only improve when readers tell them the truth.