The Bones of Paris, scrubbing away

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…

Comments

  1. Mike Peters says:

    No doubt she read it so quickly because she is as excited as we for more of your wonderful work!

  2. Kerri Warren says:

    If you were to send me a copy for my consideration and thought, believe me, I would read it in one sitting because your books have that effects on a person. I am amazed that she could read and make notes that quickly though…

  3. Margaret W. says:

    Whoopee!!! Another Laurie King book coming!

  4. Next time, send it to me. I promise I’ll take at least 3 weeks over it.

    ;-)

  5. Sigh, being a writer can not be easy. I guess you must set aside your ego and plow on always. From all the books I’ve read, you do wonderful work. Set it away for an afternoon and go see that Movie, relax and sip some tea, then buck up…
    God is in the de-tales.

  6. Must be damn good for the editor to whip through it that fast regardless of whatever else might have been on their desk.

    Can’t wait.

    But sympathies for having only a very very short break.

  7. Dear Laurie,
    I have all of your Holmes books in hard cover. I will shortly devour Garment which I see is also in North Africa.

    My favorite novel takes place here in San Francisco. It is great to have a writer who knows the cable cars are on Hyde Street not Van Ness Avenue. And Chinatown is on Grand and Stockton.

    Ted Miles

  8. Kerri Warren says:

    I feel the same about your choice of San Francisco for Locked Rooms; I know where else could you set it?
    It will ever be my favourite of the Russell novels, San Francisco being a favourite city of mine. To find the
    city laid out in the book as it should be is a gift to treasure.
    The Russell books are wonderful creating characters so real one would know them anywhere, while providing a post-grad education in so many fields. The Martinelli books are a pleasure to read.
    Folly, Keeping Watch, and A Darker Place take the reader in new directions, exploring new feelings and emotions, roller coaster rides. At the moment I am rereading Touchstone, exploring yet other facets of Laurie R. King. She is indeed to be valued above rubies and emeralds: a writer of many colours who knows the environments of which she writes.
    Kerri G

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