Novel approaches: part 9

Lest one think I’m stealing from the master, the Castle Rock mentioned here is a real town in Oregon.

I’ll often put in an 18-hour day, sometimes within 24 hours, but that usually includes time set aside for breakfast, lunch, dinner, at least two snacks, a 2- to 3-mile walk, the first half hour of Today, running errands to the market or hardware store, emptying the dishwasher, doing a load of laundry, splitting and/or bringing in firewood, catching up on facebook, playing guitar, watching a movie, watching the evening news, and watching what’s on the DVR.

Wednesday was one of those rare 18-hour days in which I worked for pretty much 18 hours straight, editing the galleys of Two Birds before the publisher sends them off to the printer. While there were two more rounds of residual edits to tend to Thursday, the bulk of them were made Wednesday, when I sat here, pen in hand, printed-off pdf of my novel lying on the desk. Maybe it was because I was working with a hard copy, rather than staring at a computer monitor all day, that I was able to do it without my corneas melting. Whatever the reason, I was able to plow through it with just a few short breaks between 7 a.m. and 1 a.m. Tea helped. So did occasional stretching. And the whoopie pie-scented Yankee Candle votive soothed my mind all day and night.

The original plan was to have Two Birds available by now (December 21) – at least available to order online – but we’ve all heard about best laid plans. Technical difficulties. That sort of thing. At any rate, last I heard the thing is off to the printers, and ought to be out by New Year’s Day. Naturally, I’ll keep you all posted.

To that end, I must apologize to those who have gone to Kennebooks looking for Two Birds, perhaps based upon what they read in The Village, Current Publication’s new monthly freebie mailed to thousands of homes in the Kennebunks. I provided that press release for their January edition, and having been a newspaper man, I should have realized that it would be released before January, and even earlier than usual given print dates adjusted for the holidays. Assuming the book would be at Kennebooks – as well as Marlows and other gift and bookstores – in January…well, you get the idea.

That being said, I was surprised and pleased as punch to hear that people asked for it. That news made my day.

Editing is not pretty work.

Editing the galleys was gratifying in one way, in that I found that I liked the story. I am my harshest critic (to date), so I was relieved to still find merit in the tale, and hope that others will eventually agree with me. Time will tell.

One systemic problem with the manuscript was the presence of single quotes, which I had used throughout the original draft, perhaps thinking I was British. Alexandra cleaned up most of them, but several sneaked through from draft to draft, obviously dying to be published. I understand. I feel the same way.

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Dana Pearson is a writer living in Kennebunk, Maine.
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