Weighing in at 375 pages, 108,000 words and, thanks to double sided printing, 3 lbs. I named it The God Particle. And it is kind of a kick for me to be at this final touch point with my third novel. My family planning is now complete with the addition of this third installment in my Bill Hiccock “Thrillogy.” Allow me to reflect on how I arrived at this blessed moment, (Hey, it’s an author’s blog, what did you expect?).
Ahhh, that cute, little first draft, a year and a half of gestation, then its out, smelling like toner powder. Now standing on the spindly unsteady legs of plot lines and character arcs. You marvel at it and know it has more growing to do and you dream about the possibilities.
Oh, oh… someone needs changing! So you unwrap it, the 2nd draft! Flesh out characters, fatten plots, bring in a subplot, make new connections, Hey, I didn’t know I already set up the way these two might meet! I must be a genius.
Not so much. I left out a major hunk of story in the second act! But that’s what why they invented the second pass.
I send it to my word pediatrician, Sue Rasmussen. She makes my perfect bundle of joy even more ‘perfecter’, by pointing out made up words like that one.
I take it on its first vacation, to the beach. We spend seven glorious days in the sand and surf of Puerto Rico. At wheels down of Jet Blue Flight 504 arriving JFK from SJU, I finish the last story edit on the last page. (I love it when the timing works out so well) and shake all the sand out of the book before closing it.
There’s a mid-wife at Kinko’s, Gary. He prints up 10 bound copies with slick little covers with art work in the general direction of the final cover.
Then it’s off to be held by 6 friends and/or strangers to get honest comments. Most come back good, my cousin George Cannistraro, a talented author in his own right, as always catches a plot point I missed and from that usually the book jumps to 50% better.
Then a deep breath as I click send to let (Grandpa) publisher, Lou Aronica at the Story Plant, give it a read.
Tick tock, tick tock… Ding.
A return email! He likes it! He sees the same beauty in it that I do. Only he takes exception to the very end. The edit I did of the very last words in the book that I made at wheels down. Chauvinistic and demeaning were words he didn’t use, but were apt. So I reworked it made it better (as everything he compels me to rework gets) Now it’s good and I am a caring sensitive male once more. Good. He’s going to publish it, Yaaaaaaaaay!
I Go back to editing book four, “The Devil’s Quota.” While writing book five, “Give Us This Day.”
Ding! Mail’s in. The edited manuscript is sent back to me. Three years after the first draft was nothing more than a blank screen radiating my chromosomes.
Lots of edits, comments and Tsk, Tsk, Tsk’s. But also an opportunity for one more polish, one more fine tuning, one last chance to bend, shape, smooth out or hone to a fine point the plot, sub plots, characters, locations, interactions, set ups and payoffs. Oh and I get to detangle the dreaded Head Hopping POV shifts (Ugh, I hate those)
Back it goes into the maw of the Publishers system. Through the editorial intestines, purified by the editor’s liver… wait… okay, really bad analogy… Through the editorial process and then suddenly, one blessed day, Ding! The “pages” arrive. This is how my book will look when it’s ‘all growed up’! In fact, it will look like this forever. The font choice, the leading, the kerning, the style elements. But along with it comes the big admonishment: Not For Editing! Meaning hands off anything story or content (I had my chance) but identify in red pen only the errant period, wandering comma, perplexed parentheses, and the ever popular spell check replacement that could ‘rune’ your day!
Beautiful isn’t it (Doesn’t every author believe their new book is beautiful?)
Ahhh, the joys of author-hood.