Monday, June 25, 2007

Ask the Authors: Monday

Welcome back to another "Ask the Authors" week. If you have a question you'd like to ask our authors, send it to (Yes, we will be continuing this feature when we come back in the fall.)

What is your favorite part of the writing process: a. Creating proposals for new projects; b. Writing the first draft; c. Revising and refining the manuscript; d. Reviewing the galley; e. seeing the book in print.

e. I'm like Mark Twain, I like "having written." lisa samson

Well, duh. Seeing the book in print, of course. That means the hard work is done. But next to that is revising and refining the manuscript. I LOVE the rewriting process. I get excited by a 13-page substantive edit letter with suggestions and a list to check off of ways to improve my manuscript. -Deborah Raney

I think it's fair to say that the later in the process it is for me, the more I enjoy it. I despise proposals, dread first drafts, and dislike second passes. But it definitely gets easier after that. --Angela Hunt

None of the above. My favorite part is the brainstorming of a new book, when every idea is a possibility and nothing has been rejected/tossed out because it won’t work. The brainstorming usually happens after the first flicker of an idea when I jot down the premise (option A) and before writing the first draft (option B). — Robin Lee Hatcher

No doubt about it, my very favorite part of the writing process is revising and refining the manuscript. That's when I can develop undeveloped ideas, turn the course of the story, find a theme I missed before, and indulge in the setting. Last month, it was my job to delete a manuscript by a third in order for our publisher to reprint the book. It was the most fun time I've ever had in my writing career. By the time I finished chiseling and polishing, I think that story had more clarity than ever before. --Hannah Alexander

Proposals are always a challenge because you’re trying to convey a 97,000-word idea in a 5,000-word sack. And the insolent prima donna in me thinks of proposals as business documents and wants to get on with producing art. The first half of the first draft is nice, but by the second half, I’m Johnstown and it’s the flood. Revising and refining always gives me this feeling that I’m smearing Bondo on a fender – yes, it will look nice when I’m done, but I know the mess it was underneath. Reviewing the galley is sort of a prolonged panic attack, because I always want to do something drastic – like maybe pitch it all and write a completely different book (like most writers, I am just this great, big ball of confidence). And when I see the book in print, I’m afraid to open it because I just know the first word I see is going to be a typo, or a character whose name I changed in every instance but the one that I’m looking at. Yet, oddly enough, when I read one of my books about five years later, I generally enjoy it, because I’m past all the stress and the trauma. Maybe that’s the best part.– Tom Morrisey

Definitely revising and refining the manuscript. (Seeing the book in print is always nice, too!) -BJ Hoff

I love the writing. The proposal is necessary, as is the revising and refining, etc. But the writing, that's where the fun begins! -- Rene Gutteridge

With the exception of writing proposals, I love the entire process. I particularly enjoy the research and the rewriting (the latter because there’s something there to work with, as opposed to a blank page). -Ann Tatlock

You know that old quote, "I don't' love writing, I love having written"? That's me! The part I like best is seeing it in print. And the revision process. I love working with my editor to make the book as strong as it can be. --Karen B.

For me it’s a tie between creating new ideas and revising the manuscript. For me, brainstorming new story ideas is a writer’s high, possibly because at that stage all the mechanics that make a story good are perfect in my mind (we’re all Shakespeare at this stage). But I also love editing and polishing. That’s when I do my best writing and feel like a craftsman. In between those two stages—the first draft—is pure torture. It’s just bad, bad, bad writing and I can’t wait to begin whipping it into shape. — Jack Cavanaugh


At 11:59 AM, Blogger Southern-fried Fiction said...

It does my heart good to realize few really like the orginal writing of a book, but prefer the editing. I love to edit, but have a hard time getting the first draft out. I keep trying to get it right the first time, instead of just getting it on paper. I'm learning, though. ;o)


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