“Goofy” lunch anyone?

by Debra Chappell

Just a quick little note this Monday morning, have been out of internet range for the past few days and couldn’t post anything. (A blessing and a curse I suppose!)  I’m feeling very guilty ‘cause I haven’t posted much after saying I would do so more regularly, but really and truly, I have a great excuse! I had a terrific, productive week last week, and have been knee deep in working on the first five chapters of the book.  I’m a little worried though about my state of mind, it’s not like me to be up early much less sitting at the laptop and actually working by 6:00 am!  I’m also a bit concerned that my social life is taking a plunge.  My friend Paige says, “I’m afraid to call you during the day in fear I’ll be interrupting something brilliant!”  Ha! Believe me, can’t happen!! I do love working with my editor though, the whole process is interesting, challenging, stimulating, consuming and a whole host of other “ing’s”– and I can already see the benefit of her expertise.

I’ve had a few friends ask me about the editing process and what it is exactly that I’m doing.  One said “I thought it was just a matter of dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s.”  Another asked if I was “collaborating” with the editor.  Not exactly.  The editor doesn’t tell me what to write, she tells me how to write what I write better.  She’ll say things like, “I think this description would be better later on, in Chapter 4 perhaps”, or “I’d like to see another scene here with the three main characters.”  She suggests a sentiment without suggesting a specific way to deal with it – she leaves that to me.   She’s also terrific about pointing out the places where something works particularly well, or will say something like “maybe you could add one of those snarky asides here, like you did in the dinner scene.” THEN she dots all the i’s and crosses the t’s that I’ve missed.

Since I am one for immediate gratification, it’s not hard for me to get excited and motivated when I receive her editorial notes, and want to do something about it right away.  I haven’t minded one bit being inside all day with my ‘nose to the grindstone’, even during one of the sunniest, driest winters on record (though the dog is pouting.)  In fact, I wrote to my friend Sue in England saying, “I’m writing all day every day and not even minding.”  I told her that I was heading to the cabin to get in some uninterrupted ‘editing’ because I can be easily distracted by lunch dates, coffee invites, and even goofy things on facebook.  I think that’s when she got concerned, she wrote me back:

“I really can’t imagine writing ALL DAY EVERY DAY and going to the back of beyond by myself in deep winter – it sounds horrendous you keep going to the goofy lunches and keep your sanity, that’s my advice!”

Hmmm, she may have a point.  I’ve been spending so much time with all my made up characters, it feels like I actually do have a social life –  a little bizarre.  So… just to let you know, my phone lines are open.