Well… There’s still editing. If I’m honest, and too often I am, I’m a little terrified. I’ve lived with these characters for so long, I feel like I know them. When I set down my iPad and take out my headphones late at night, I’m still not free of them. I plan scenes or agonize over conversations that didn’t look right until I fall asleep. I wake up and resolve plot conflicts and reword dialogues until it’s time to wake up the Baby Book Writers. My best ideas come to me when I’m in the shower and fights seem to flow while I’m driving. I’ll call Mr. Bawdy Book Writer at the office to ask him what Alastair would say or how Lucien would react. Now that the active writing phase is over, these lives I’ve built are about to be on display for all to see. Like a nervous mama, I want to hold them to me and keep them safe.
Tuman Capote said “Finishing a book is just like you took a child out in the back yard and shot it.” It’s gory but it’s kind of true. I’m by no means comparing myself or my work to Capote. God, no. But he’s sort of my spirit animal. He gets me. Books do feel like your children. You pour so much of yourself into them and they are with you constantly. Then, you push them away and they’re gone. If you haven’t done a good job, they’re dead. If you’ve don’t it right, they’re no longer yours. For me, there’s a manic nature to writing. It consumes me and I’m nearly useless for anything else but I feel vital and potent. Once the book is done, there’s a low period. I’m lost and empty. Self publishing and using social media to connect with readers saved me after Siren. It gave me something to focus on those first few days. But ultimately, Mr. Bawdy Book Writer sensed the coming storm. He knew that once the dust settled and sales and downloads stalled, I’d be sunk. “Start the next book!” At first, my mind translated that to “You’re out of crack? Smoke some heroin!” Sometimes, chasing the dragon is a good thing. I’m just a little worried that my plan to take a few weeks off after Book 2 is nonsense. My poor family.
Today will be the first of many days that I’ll read through the whole manuscript. Some days, I’ll read it twice. I’m very aware of why there are people that get paid to edit books. Writers editing their own books is a terrible idea. Even worse: reading your book after you’ve published it. Every error is like a punch in the gut. Some are due to switching between formats and uploading to Amazon. Some of it’s from being too familiar with the text. Or alcohol. Write drunk, edit sober. Some rules are rules for a reason.
I’d like to say that Book 2 will be available by next weekend but I refuse to commit. That would put me in a terrible place, mentally. If things progress as I expect them to, it should be a realistic estimate. But life rarely behaves and I can’t be held accountable.