Midday on Thursday I sent the revised version of The Bones of Paris off to my editor. The much-revised version. Since getting the first draft back just before Thanksgiving, I’ve been chained to my chair, working 70+ hour weeks on it, to make up for having lost three months in the process of moving house. Yes, ten or eleven hours a day, pretty much every day, reshaping the plot, pace, and characters to make it sing on the page. It grew by 100 pages, the characters became more wickedly precise and vital, their story, their city, took on life.
It became a stronger book.
On Thursday, I finished rewriting one of the key chapters, ran a quick eye over the spell check, and sent it off. Shouts of joy; champagne corks; much anticipation of long-delayed leisure activities and chores.
Friday morning, I woke late (almost 7:00!) and read for a while over breakfast, then started tidying the room I’ve been writing in, which is also the bedroom since my study-to-be remains a garage with a pyramid of boxes. I thought about doing something mad like, oh, going to a movie.
And just before I went to fix myself some lunch, I checked my email and there was a letter from my editor with suggestions for her revision.
Do I weep? Do I complain, woe is poor old me? No. Well, not a whole lot. Mind you, I’m not exactly looking forward to diving back in, but this is what a writer does. You take your precious babies, your life’s dreams, the very best work you can do and you gather it in your hands and hold it out to be admired—and when it’s then slapped out of your hands to the ground and you’re instructed cheerfully to buck up, it just needs a little cleaning…you buck up and get out the scrub brush.
Because that’s what being a writer is all about.
I do admit, however, that I might wish she’d taken maybe a little longer to read the thing…