In the past two weeks, Of the Night has undergone some impressive tweaking. I’ve been on a roll, seeing the novel from new perspectives and making subtle but important adjustments. It’s uncanny…all at once I spot connections that weren’t there previously, I swear. Suddenly they’re glaringly obvious. Uncanny? Hell, sometimes it’s downright creepy.
I’m getting very, very close to the “Sherron Draft”.
This means the book is nearly done, right on the verge. In need of one final run through by someone who knows my work intimately. Sherron’s been my sole editor for as long as I’ve been a professional writer (and maybe even a bit before). She knows what my aspirations are, what I’m shooting for aesthetically. She’s a terrific reader, the kind who laughs out loud at funny bits or moans when she suspects something bad is about to happen. She has a sophisticated and well-rounded love of books and reads whenever she has a spare moment.
She’s a spell-checker and proof-reader and a demanding and opinionated fan of my work. When she doesn’t like something, she says so and she’s usually right. Well, okay, almost always…
I’m not an easy person to edit: I grumble over critical remarks and suggestions, sometimes walk away in a funk…but if the changes improve the story, they go in and that’s that. Creative writing types talk about “killing your babies”, throwing out your favorite lines if they don’t fit the story. When I edit, I’m absolutely ruthless, no flashy flourishes or stylistic showing off allowed. Everything in service to the story; a motto I live by.
Should have Of the Night posted here mid-August so keep that in mind.
I deliver my “Sherron Draft” late next week, close to our anniversary, as a matter of fact. Eighteen years I’ve been married to the finest person I’ve ever known. Ain’t that something? Ain’t I the luckiest guy alive?
The ridiculous perfectionism that forces me to drag out a project soooo long, reducing the process of creation to a chore, grinding away on a tale or a novel until I feel nothing but revulsion for it.
I was determined it was going to be different with my novel Of the Night. Wrote the first few drafts last fall, presented Sherron with a fairly decent version just before Christmas. I intended to get back to it in late spring but other projects and obligations precluded that. Finally started going through the manuscript earlier this month and I feel myself falling into the same old traps. Bearing down too hard, scrutinizing every single syllable, having the eternal comma-versus-semi-colon debate yet again. Grrr.
So I’ve given myself an absolute deadline. Time to put the pedal to the metal on this baby. I keep telling myself, “this ain’t Ulysses, dope”.
Of the Night is entertainment, pure and simple. It’s short–only about 160 pages–fast, longer on plot and shorter on characterization than my previous novel, So Dark-excerpt. It’s not a direct sequel to So Dark but it is set in the same city, same universe. Totally different cast of characters and atmosphere.
You’ll be seeing it soon. Sporting another cover by the inimitable Ado Ceric, if he can manage it. Do pop over and check out his site some time, it will blow your mind. It’s a pleasure working with someone like Ado–we draw from similar sources of inspiration and his vision is ideally suited for my oddball fiction. I know he’ll come up with something terrific for Of the Night and that the finished book will be a fun and compelling read.
As soon as I get finished fucking editing it, that is. But the deadline helps and I think come late summer I’ll have it ready.