JK: Waiting is Working
I’m in that in-between state. I’ve finished my latest manuscript and am awaiting editorial comments about it. I have all I can do to not keep pecking away at the existing manuscript, tweaking and stretching and cutting with the hope I’m making it better. It’s too long, I know. But as I began to cut I frightened myself that I might cut the wrong things and so I wait, trusting in the editor’s suggestions before beginning my revisions.
Ivan Doig, a National Book Award winner who also writes fiction (his English Creek I’ve read out loud to my husband after reading it twice it’s such a wonderful story) once said that the best part about writing for him is in the revision process because that’s when he discovers what the book is really about.
When I first read his words, before I started writing myself, I wondered how an author could not know what their book was about until after it was finished! Now I know.
It’s during this in-between state that the experiences of the characters gain perspective and in many ways, take on true lives of their own. They live inside my head as I’m getting up to take a new puppy out. They rattle around in my heart as I listen to a friend tell me her cancer is no longer in remission. They go to bed with me when I’ve smashed my fingernail and its throbbing and they get up with me after my husband has kissed my forehead before going out to change the irrigation pipes. All the while I’m wondering how they might have responded to those everyday life events, how different I might be from them or how similar.
Joshua 3:7 says “And the Lord said to Joshua, ‘This day I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.’” In Jack Hayford and Sam Middlebrook’s Living the Spirit Filled Life they suggest that scripture talks about new beginnings. I like that. The revision process is about new beginnings and the assurance we have that God is with us. The us for me this day is the editorial team, my characters and me. And someday there’ll be readers “revising” and hopefully being changed by the way we revised this story.
Jane Kirkpatrick, http://www.jkbooks.com/, working on book two of the Change and Cherish series…waiting is working.