Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Long and Twisting Road...

You write a book.
It gets published.
You get famous and make lots of money.

Well, not exactly.

Actually, no.

Let's skip talking about the millions of adoring fans throwing money at you for your latest epic for another time.

To become an author is like having a child. You decide to bring a work of art to life. You prepare (gather ideas, write the book). You get lots of nasty and/or painful tests- getting blood drawn, swallowing sickly sweet concoctions to see if you'll have high blood sugar, and we won't even talk about the internal exams. These are akin to looking at your manuscript and noticing the flaws and the holes, then having others critique it and they point out more problems. Just when you think you're done- there's another test (plot problem). 

Thankfully (hopefully) you get past all that and get to the point where you send it out to an agent or editor and you wait. And wait. It's like the last two weeks of your pregnancy- you want it over, but you're afraid. Will everything be all right? Will I wish I hadn't wished that blissful ignorance away?

Then comes a response. This agent/editor tells you, great, but not for us. False alarm (akin to fake contractions called Braxton-Hicks). Maybe it happens a number of times. Pretty soon you don't care anymore (or at least you tell yourself this) and you want it over. You want to return to a normal life. (Unless you walk away from writing- put that child up for adoption- 'normal' as you know it is gone.)

Finally! An editor/agent calls or emails and they want to deliver your 'baby!' But first... there are a few changes. Pages of changes. Painful, feel like they'll rip you apart changes. This is the revision letter. All you can do is dig deep and breathe as you 'labor' to get through them. Then you get a break. You're exhausted. 

But you know it's not over. It may have just begun, with still a long road ahead of many more revision letters (contractions). 

After one last push (revision) it's done. The editor/agent accepts it and you can sleep, rest, do other things.

Wait- before your baby can go out into the world, there needs to be more suffering- vaccination shots- (we call them editorial changes). Ouch. It's hard to watch someone hurt your baby, but it's got to be done. And then suddenly the baby is free to go out into the world (book debut!).

It's dangerous out there...mean people (reviewers) who say bad things. People, like kids at school, who don't like your baby and won't put them in the bookstore for various stupid reasons. Your baby may be alone, unnoticed. Not popular.

For a long time you deal with this, pieces of your heart broken because your beloved has to suffer.

So what do you do?

You decide you want another.... And it begins again...

Happy writing! (Happy parenthood too.)


(I'm in the painful delivery stage- breathing through another set of revisions. For #NaNoWriMos, this is generally the hardest stage... We'll do it together on National Novel Revision Month in February, so rest up and get ready!)