Phew, the weather finally broke

Before I get to waxing about my like for revisions, (which I am deep into this week) I want to drop a link here to a fab review from one of my long-time readers over at B&N SciFi Fantasy Blog  This is the blog that I will often drop by and chat with the regulars when a book comes out, so I’m so glad that Paul liked what he found.

It has been right on the edge of insufferable the past couple of days in terms of heat and humidity, hovering at the 90 degree point.  I wasn’t having much trouble after 13 years of SC summers, but my plants were.  As expected, that second, unfertilized fruit on my pumpkin vine in the picture a few days ago fell off without ever having opened up.  It was just too hot.  The one already fertilized weathered just fine.  I’ve got another immature flower that I’m watching now, and it looks good so far.  The rhododendrons, too, I covered with a sheet to keep off the sun.  I didn’t plant them in a good spot, and they get too much sun in the afternoon.  Most days they can take it, but for the next couple of years as they settle in and the shade plants I put behind them get taller, I will be looking like a dork, hanging curtains in my yard when the temps get above 88.

But right now the house is open and the air is dry and cool.  I’m hammering away at the editorial rewrite.  It’s been sitting on my desk far too long as I take care of other stuff that had to come first, but I want this done before comic con, (Here’s a great schedule, if you are going.  My booth signings are not listed there.  To see them, jump over to the event’s page.) which means I’ll be putting in some very long days this week.  If the windows are open, I mentally have an easier time sitting at my desk, so this is a very good thing.  Fortunately I have a plan of  attack, so it’s just going through it and making the changes.

Taking that 3-7 pages of editor suggestions and distilling it to an attack plan is often the hardest part.  You have to learn how to translate editor speak into author action.  “End the conflict with more tension and drama” sounds great, but how do you do that?  My favorite is “expand on this” or “isn’t translating well as written” or “needs more work” or “develop this idea throughout the book more.”  (Diana, if you are reading this, I’m not complaining as much as explaining, as long as you don’t use the word neat anymore.)  -laugh-

But after a couple of years at this, I’ve found editorial rewrites are often my favorite part of the process because I have to develop this idea, translate that better, add more drama to the end, or completely rewrite the beginning to set the story flow up better.  It gets me to think a bit more, tighten the weave, make the ideas I’m trying to convey more understandable and clearer.  I can get sloppy, and those edit letters make me straighten up and fly right, and when it comes right down to it, I want this to be the best thing I can write at this time in my life so I can look back at it with pride no matter how sophomoric it might look to me in 20 years.

So I will be sitting happy today at my desk with the windows open and the breeze blowing through, tweaking, tugging, shifting, changing, wedging little bits of chips between the cracks to make a neat package.  I have been working with these malleable words and ideas for two years, and it is time to harden it off and let it go.

P.S.  Vicki Petterson of the Zodiac series is at the same stage of putting a book together as I am, with the same editor, (how rare is that conjunction!)  and she has a much better post than mine about how she actually breaks editor speak down into action.  Check out her blog post today for more “inside the writer” action.  :-)    Edit Letters A Rare Writing Post

43 Comments

Filed under Drama Box

43 responses to “Phew, the weather finally broke

  1. Jenn

    Hello Ms. Kim!
    Hope all is well with you & yours.
    I’ve been absent for a while so I’ve got a couple comments to make lol.
    1. For JIM – I love my Kindle. You can make the writing bigger & because it is not backlit, it is much easier on the eyes. I have problems with my eyes & found that this one was the best for me.
    2. Kim the YouTube video of BloodWork looks fantastic! I just picked it up yesterday & I’m already through chapter 1. The graphics are amazing I love reading from Ivy’s POV. Oh and Andy didn’t grumble too much about the cost of the hard cover since yours are the only ones I buy in this format🙂
    3. Congrats on the pumpkin success! This year, I didn’t get my garden in *sigh* so I’m living through yours.
    4. I am so glad that the weather finally broke, I’ve got the windowns open for the first time in a week!
    Ok, I’m done.
    Hope you have a great day!

    • Jenn

      P.S. I forgot to say that when you look at that pic of your pup in reverse colours, it looks like she is pulling an aura like Ivy does in BloodWork!

    • Hi Jenn. Cool! I hope you like Blood Work all the way to the end. 🙂 I hear you on the windows. We had a low last night in the 50s, and the high today will barely nudged in 80. Yep, it’s good to be home.

  2. ErikaT

    Interesting process for sure, Kim. How long does it take to write in each of the stages, from the first draft to the first re-write to the second re-write? I imagine it’s less and less each time. Is the second re-write usually your last? As for the weather, it’s been around 95-100 degrees here (my car reads 102 every time I first get in it after work), but we’ve been getting heavy rain (sometimes with lightning) at least once per day as well which sort of helps.

    Still waiting on my copy of Blood Work. I gotta say, while I’m patient I’m getting a tad annoyed because FedEx hasn’t updated info AT ALL in two days. All I’ve got is:
    July 11th – “Shipment information sent to FedEx”

    Ho Hum >_>. Too bad I no longer have any physical bookstores nearby me, be it home OR work. They were all Borders unfortunately.

    • I really can’t give you a hard and fast rule, Erika, because every rewrite requires a different amount of fixing, though yes, it usually takes less time the further you are into the process. Editorial rewrites can take as little as five days to three weeks, though I once took six to get it back to the publisher due to a tour getting in the way. -laugh- I usually only have to do one editorial rewrite, but two isn’t unheard of.

      Hope you get your copy soon!

  3. Victoria Eskey

    it is so exciting, and wonderful how open you are with your process, the fun stuff, the stressful stuff, the weird stuff, and the inspirational stuff. ^_^ can’t wait for it!

    • Some of that is because there is a misconception in many writers that what they see on the shelf has flown out of an author’s pen in one go, and then they get frustrated when they look at their own work, expecting it to flow out perfect as well. I wish. It’s all about getting it down rough and polishing it up shiny. Ideas come from ugly things

  4. Glad the heat broke for you and your pumpkins. Looking forward to pictures of craved pumpkins and cooler weather!
    Loved “Blood Work” read through, now to go back and admire the artwork. Can’t wait for the next one. My husband was thumbing through it too.
    Thanks Kim!

  5. Happy Wednesday – Mailman did good – brought me “Blood Work today! Have read it twice already. Kim this was really worth the wait, I pre-ordered on 11/15/2010. Especially liked About the Creators, Artist’s Sketchbook, Making a Graphic Novel & A Conversation with Kim Harrison after the novel. THANKS!

  6. Translate editor speak into author action… I’m intrigued… seriously so. You and Vicki really have me thinking tonight. Cool post!🙂

  7. synde

    kudos on the graphic novel Kim, it looks fantastic.. I don’t come by too much anymore, but I think of you often.

  8. It’s broken here (Columbia), too, rainy and dreary…. This post is a fascinating insight into how writing works. Can you possibly give an example of a change in a previous book that was prompted by your editor?

    Lisa

    • Mmmm. In the edit before this one, my editor told me a certain character was actually lowering the tension, (which I agreed with after I looked at it again) so I took him out and replaced him with someone capable of doing more damage. It’s so much better

  9. jkh

    As I predicted, I “gulped” BW last night. Marvelous! Now I’ll get to reread it, and read it again, and maybe read it again…And of course there’s all the rest of the Hollows books to go over again, and I’m still waiting for Pale Demon to come out in paperback. Also, I’m having a good time with Jaye Wells’ take on vampires and witches.

    If I lived in a small(ish) town (and I did once, it didn’t have a bookstore or a library–shudder) I would probably order more books online. If we pre-order we usually get a good discount!

  10. It’s been a very tough week, and I just needed a break and a bit of cheering up so I came to you blog. I always enjoy it even when I don’t comment. I hope you have better weather soon, we have resigned ouselves to spending at least three more months in hell down here. At least as I write this it is raining like mad, we really need more of that.

    • I hear you, Marsha, I hear you. I endured 13 years of summer hell, and only miss it a teeny, tiny bit. -laugh-

      May you get rain in the afternoon, but not too much.

  11. Jenny

    I went to my local Hastings to buy Bloodwork . It’s the only place in town to buy new books aside from Walmart.They told me they had 2 (yes I said 2) copies of it in.They couldn’t find them. There were 3 people looking for them. An hour and a half later they called to say they found them, and actually had 3 copies in. I just kind of found it amusing. Ah, small town life🙂

    We are entering our 3rd week of temps over 100 here.

  12. It’s been wicked hot here in Haverhill, MA. It let up a bit here today too and should be nice even through the weekend. (fingers crossed) Mother nature doesn’t make it easy sometimes.. but she does make it worth it.
    I’m not getting your GN til Wednesday.. but I ordered it from my good friend & go-to comic guy.. and wouldn’t have it any other way. Even though the xtra wait is almost painful. Everyone is loving it.. how could they not? Grats on your success Kim!

  13. James R. Fox

    Hi Ms Kim It’s Jim from Warren-First the Good news-The price of Blood Work has been lowered by .08 cents,so everybody (like me) who lives on a very inadiquate pension can start saving for your next graphic novel. WooWoo! Either that or buy a large box of pasta and some can cat food for those end of the month meals.(Again like Me). Did you know the feds raised my taxes again?At 71 I get it back,but the govt still has an interest free loan for 12 months so our congresspersons can re-decorate their offices.The bad news is Blood Work hasn’t arrived yet. I think I’m going to sue the Post Office for One Billion dollars for pain and suffering.

    • I know! I know! It’s kind of pricy for such a quick read, but the beauty, and what you’re really buying, is the art–something I can’t give you with simple words.

      I hope you get your copy soon!

  14. Sara

    I read Blood Work last night after climbing in to bed – and loved it! Thank you so much for giving us niblets throughout the process on here *and* in the book. I liked the talk of the character creation, why you picked a certain artist, the questions from your editor, the choices you had to make, slimming down the word count (holy crap did you ever! And it’s still “fleshed out.” I keep wanting to make some kind of metaphor but my brain is broken. :p Too many things to do today and too many other things begging for me to distract myself. Just wanted to pop in and say “congrats!!!” and “job well done!” 😉

    • Thank you, Sara. I really appreciate that! I’m really pleased you enjoyed it. It was a lot of work, and most of it wasn’t on my end of things. At least, that’s how it felt . . .

  15. Maryellen

    Your Michigan summers sound so nice, Miss Kim! I wish I could leave my windows open to the breeze. Enjoy your day!🙂

  16. Pingback: Edit letters – a rare writing post | Vicki Pettersson | New York Times Bestselling Author of The Signs of the Zodiac Series

  17. Pre-order didn’t arrive last night. I must have shipped it regular ground, which means it may be a couple of days before I get my copy of Blood Work. I can’t wait.

    Glad to hear your plants survived the heat wave. It was nasty out the last couple of days. I couldn’t believei t.

  18. Tim Collins

    Yeah! The weather is Broken all right! The needle is stuck on 98 degrees and 66 % humidity! Every day the weather guys predicts Big thunderstorms to move this hot spot along and next day, el zippo! Everyone’s grass is brown and what once was a promising crop of corn (My Fav) looks like prezel sticks! (Did I mention I work in a boiler room?) I should be skinny! Fortunately I have lotsa beer to keep my fluids balenced. HYDRATE! ( “Hoh Garden” Belgium Beer! Ma FAV!) Anywho… I’m happy things are starting to cool off where you are and your book is moving along nicely…. Speaking of CONS my Brother Dan just went to “Shore Leave” and wrote a nice article on Baltimore’s Biggest Con! (It’s in the e-paper “The Examiner”.) OK DAN! I did your Plug! Anywho…. sounds like things are going well for you. Hope your garden bounces back! Tim

  19. Great review:) I always hated rewrites (I’ve mentioned that a few times when you wax eloquent about them). OK. It’s far more interesting than rewriting non-fiction:)

    Back to gardening (which has nothing to do with witches, vampires or pixies (or does it?).

    You don’t want too many pumpkins on one vine. Normally we only leave one or two.

    You might get away with more if you plant Autumn Gold next year (assuming you didn’t) http://www.parkseed.com/gardening/PD/5658/
    The BIG ones are culled to one per vine:)
    We grew them when I managed a university greenhouse not to far from Minnesota.

    • Most of what I planted was the little palm-sized pumpkins with a few pie pumpkins thrown in for grins. But I don’t know. That first one is getting big really fast . . .

  20. Happy Thursday,

    Here’s a little something to help with all the cracks you mentioned when you were talking about your rewrites.

    I read Paul’s article. It was very good. Now if the post office would just do their part and deliver my copy, all would be good in the world…well almost. My mower has a flat. After the last one, I have learned how to remove the tire without losing the snap ring or hurting myself. YAY!

    V^^^^V

  21. Yvonne

    Kim:

    I read the finished product and think it poured right out your brain in that state. Magically, it fits together, transports my thoughts, makes me laugh, changes the way I see things. As an entertained reader I am awed by the process you endure for my benefit. Thank you feels overused and trite but those are the words I have to express my gratitude. Thank You!