Saturday, September 18, 2010

Attitude and Preparation

This past week hasn't been one of my better weeks. I told everyone to look under Entertainment for my reviews on Meridian when I should have said look under Books. I've spent extra time at the hospital with my sister this week so my brother-in-law could go home for his own Dr.'s appointment, thus I didn't get a blog posted on the V-formation or on my blog. I was expecting my column on Meridian to be posted on Thursday; it wasn't. It has a new posting date Monday, Sept. 20, so look for it then. (This column is about the current state of LDS Fiction and where I think it's going in the next few years and I would really appreciate comments here or on Meridian from readers, writers, and anyone else with a stake in the future of LDS fiction.) I have tendonitis in one knee and it's been acting up all week; do you suppose stress is a factor in that? I've read five books in the past few weeks. Three were awful, actually one was excellent for the first half then it fell apart. The other two books, both by consistently excellent authors, were good and even may have been better than I rated them, but with so many distractions I had to read in fast, short time bursts that made concentrating difficult.

Anyway enough of my Perils of Pauline whining. I spent a little more than an hour this morning clearing away weeds and overgrown foliage in my flower beds. It barely made a dent in what needs to be done, but as I worked I found myself planning where to plant new bulbs for next spring, debating whether a plant that didn't do well in its present spot might do better if I moved it to another location, and feeling good about my accomplishments because it will make next Spring's garden so much prettier. Spring is a long time away, but preparing now makes a tremendous difference in both the workload and the pleasure in my garden when it arrives.

It occurred to me that the editorial process of a book is much like fall garden work. Clearing out repetitions, getting rid of spelling and grammar errors, moving a section from one chapter to another where it fits better, results in a far better book on that magical day when it is finally released. I don't have a release date yet for my next book, though it has been accepted by my publisher, but there are things I and other writers and editors find make the editing process flow more smoothly and the satisfaction with the finished product that much greater. One of these is to keep a file of notes during the writing process, a chapter by chapter outline (some writers outline before, some after), and a character list with detailed descriptions. The editing process can begin many months, sometimes a year or more, after the manuscript is finished, so keeping these items can save precious time and headaches when the time does come to edit since it makes jumping back into that story easier.

Okay, I'm determined next week is going to be better, my Spring garden will be beautiful and colorful, and I won't moan and groan about my next editing process. Attitude and preparation! I'll keep reminding myself of those two things.


Mindi said...

Thanks for the attitude reminder, Jennie. Sometimes my attitude needs a lot of work and we won't go into my lack of preparation!

Janice said...

I've stopped feeding the gophers - er planting flowers.

Elizabeth Morgan said...

Attitude defiantly goes a long way.