Heart Wrenchiness

I read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon a few years ago at the behest of a friend and loved every single minute. I finished the whole book (700 some odd pages) in about two days with way too little sleep.
I bought the sequel, Dragonfly in Amber, last year at a used book sale and it’s been sitting on my bookshelf solidly next to compatriots, unread. I am very excited to read this book but I have a slight problem. Well, make that a few slight problems. The first being that I’m not sure if I’m prepared to give up the next couple of days. I know myself. When I get into a book, I get into a book. Dinners get burned, appointments are forgotten and I’ll go missing for hours (mostly to be found on the dog bed tucked underneath a counter in our dining room)
The next problem…

::I’m going to be shouted at so I’m preparing myself::

I know what happens. I am one of those people who will seek out spoilers on purpose. It’s not that I don’t like surprises…I do. Sometimes. It’s more that if I don’t at least know a little bit of what will happen I won’t sleep at all and probably also forget to eat and go the bathroom in an effort to find out. When the last Harry Potter came out I knew I wasn’t going to get a chance to read it right away (I was going on a hike with my husband), so I picked it up from my PO box and flipped to the last page just to make sure that Harry, Ron and Hermione had lived.

Was I still going crazy on the trail? Um, yeah. Did I still bawl my eyes out every other chapter? Pretty much. Imagine how bad it might have been if I hadn’t checked first. (And I know, who the hell schedules a hike on the same day as a book release? An idiot, I fully admit this)

So…I kinda know what happens. And I don’t think it’s too spoiler-y to say that my heart is preemptively breaking. I don’t know all the details and I know the ending (have I read the last two pages? Yes.) but I’m still a bit fearful. And also really excited.

Isn’t that what really good books are supposed to do? Don’t the best ones grab us by the heart and wrench us around a bit? Hold us submerged in their world until you don’t care if you take your next breath as much as turning the page so that when you do come out from your literature induced fugue state you immediately call your best girlfriend and say “Oh my God, have you read –?”

I love books like that but I’m a bit afraid of them too.

I’m going to put up some freezer meals for my husband. I’m going in.

The Re-Write

I’ve suffered from a dark and debilitating problem for many of my writing years.

I hate editing.

There, I’ve said it.

I’ve always had to fight the compulsion that this sentence must be right the first time! No errors! No time for mistakes! You don’t live in the age of Microsoft Word, you live in the time of typeset and laborious printing!

I’m going to chalk that up to the overachiever in me. In school I was always ‘the smart one.’ Also, I hated looking foolish. But I am working on something now, a novel, and I’ve discovered something about myself.

I still hate editing. But I am loving the rewrite.

The novel I am working on right now is a Regency romance and when I gave the first draft to my editor she basically said “Has promise, but you need to dump the beginning and the ending.”

Being the annoying overachiever that I am (and that I hate editing) I was all like “but! but! but!” and then remembered King’s advice: Kill your darlings (if you are a writer and have not read Steven King’s ‘On Writing’ stop what you are doing and get a copy right now).

So the darlings (and some characters) have been killed. Or written out of existence. The beginning is gone. And as I have been working on changing the beginning, I’ve found that I’ve had to change a bunch of other things also. And most shocking of all, I’ve liked doing it. The story is better for it, everything is less clunky, tighter, and the ending is way better.

Now to see if I like the second re-write as much as the first.