Thursday, June 28, 2018


Over a month lost as I downsized the  house and set up housekeeping in Richmond Virginia where I shall probably remain forever.  I NEVER want to repeat the downsizing/moving process!

So, dealing with packing and the un- of it consumed enormous amounts of time and energy, not to mention creating forests of boxes and hectares of wrapping paper, all of which must be conveyed elsewhere least we lose the cats and ourselves in the overburden of used materials.  Because of this there was scant time to do much writing, especially with the Nebula weekend coming in the midst of the move  Nevertheless, I did manage to do a final editorial pass on a new novel and make arrangements for publishing two more sometime later this year.

During that final editorial pass I reflected on how a novel grows as it makes its way to the publishing sea.  The plot seemed to twist and turn whenever it encountered an obstacle or rushed forward in a torrent of words when there was no resistance or distraction.  Strange characters and scenes appeared abruptly and sometimes either vanished later without notice or become a vital part of the flow. When the novel is initially "finished" its blemishes and shortcomings become all too apparent as does the overall "message" -- as Nancy Kress once told me, "You never know that your novel is really about until it's finished." She was, of course talking about the first draft.

It is sanding down the rough sections, adding grace notes, and fitting pieces into where they belong (as opposed to where you originally placed them) that occupies many of the subsequent edited versions. Finally, in the penultimate edit you face the choice of whether the product is good enough or needs further refinements to reach perfection.  The latter is impossible, of course, so often the choice is to eventually abandon further efforts and release the imperfect ms into the hands of others.

While you go on to the next project.