Where Mike compares Editing to War and Scooping Poop…

Where Mike compares Editing to War and Scooping Poop…

I finished The Reluctant Captain at the end of January…so what the heck is happening?  I took a few weeks off from peeling words off my brain and then spent most of March playing in the orchestra pits for local high school musicals (Red, White, and Rosie; Hello Dolly!; and Seussical The Musical  for those keeping track), I have been editing/revising/rewriting/proofreading on and off for the last four months (I’ve turned the editing up to high speed in the last few weeks).  

And in that time, I found that the writer’s job is never done.  Every time I go through my manuscript, there’s always something that needs fixing – I spent the last revision cycle battling the evil forces of Passive Voice.  

If process of creating a novel was like war, writing the novel is the initial invasion.  You charge in, push through the fire and establishing a beach head.  Editing is the trench to trench battles where success is measured in inches.  String enough inches together and soon you can overwhelm the resistance.

It’s like that in editing.  It’s getting down in the trenches, doing hand to hand combat with the English language.  All you can hope is that you can make steady forward process and not get lost.  The battles are words and sentences – not whole paragraphs.  

And it really sucks.  Maybe editing a novel is more like being the pooper-scooper who follows the horses in a parade.  Everyone loves to watch the pretty horses, but the sad reality is that the pretty horses tend to leave very unpretty presents.  And novels are like that.  The story can be dynamic, exciting, entrancing, but if you’re not careful, you find a nasty mess just waiting for you. 

So now that I’ve just used two unpleasant metaphors for editing, what’s the status of the novel, you ask?  I’ve given the novel to my wife, a close friend who is an English teacher, and a couple of other close friends who are avid readers.  When they’ve finished the book, I intend to sit with them and get notes of what’s working, what’s not, and from my friend the English teacher, the red inked manuscript that will show me just how badly I’ve retained my knowledge of grammar and punctuation.

And I’m sure out of that will come…more writing and editing.  And another round of re-reading and revising…and then we’ll see where we are.  I have more ideas that I’m eager to start writing, but I really want to get this published and make it a reality.

To that end, I’ve asked a friend, Emilee Smith, to create my cover art.  This is my current design (it may still change slightly) for the novel:

Reluctant Captain Book Cover

I’m very happy with it and can’t wait to hold it my hands!

Until later…happy journeys!

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