I didn’t write a blog last week because I was still on a cruise ship on Wednesday, sailing from Cozumel to Tampa. The cruise was wonderful. Five days of being treated like royalty…and being told there were wonderful bargains to be had, onboard and off. I did see a Goya etching I liked, but I walked away when told I could have it for a mere $3,400, and in Grand Cayman, I did buy some earrings (a pair of caymanite earrings and a pair of Australian opal earrings), but I don’t think the jewelry store lost money on the sale.
I went to Hell in George Town, Grand Cayman, and earned a Tequila Aficionado certificate for having successfully completed the tequila seminar at the Jose Cuervo Discover Mexico Park in Cozumel, Mexico. Of course I liked the most expensive tequila.
Prior to sailing off into the sunset, I had been working on revisions on my third “Crow” book. Although I wish my writing was perfect the moment I type it into the computer, I know that’s not true, and I really don’t mind revisions, especially if I feel the suggestions improve the story. With these revisions I ended up cutting a thousand words, which was fine. I’ve read way too many books where I wished the author had cut words. Lots of words.
The difficult part of revisions, in my opinion, is making sure that the changes are reflected throughout the story. In many ways, I feel writing is the same as painting. With a painting, if I change something in one area, I need to make sure I haven’t disturbed the balance of the entire painting. With writing, I need to check the entire ms to make sure the changes I make don’t duplicate or contradict what I have in the rest of the story.
Some changes are easy. One change I made was a name. Deputy Youngs became Deputy Sawyer. A search, find, and replace took care of that. There are also times where, if I’m not careful, a change could really screw up a book. I remember one instance several books back where the word I was changing could also be found as a part of other words, and I forgot to indicate that I wanted whole words only. Thank goodness for the undo option.
Other changes are more complicated. Two weeks ago I rewrote an entire scene. When I finished, I was glad I had, but it did take me a while to figure out how I could still get all the information in that scene that I felt needed to be there and yet make it different.
I envy writers who visualize entire books, sit down, and write them. I struggle through each of mine. Here again, writing reminds me of painting. I visualize how I want a painting to look, start painting, discover it’s not turning out as I’d anticipated, look at it from a distance, make changes, listen to suggestions from others, and finally deem it finished. It never looks exactly as I’d pictured, but sometimes, if I’m lucky, it’s better than I pictured. The same is true of my writing.