Friday, March 13, 2009

Feeding My Well Fed Ego With B3

It's been a while since I've written a B3 entry. So remember- if it says B3 in the title, it will most likely contain This World We Live In Spoilers.

I've been working and working and working on B3, writing the first draft, then changing the ending a few times, then changing or adding scenes so the ending makes sense, and the past couple of days, line editing and making small revisions. For those who are interested, I just posted a new entry over at thirdmoonbook, with a couple of before and after examples.

This morning, in the five seconds before I had to hop out of bed so I could run errands before getting my mother to Dr. Doctor for her regular once every three months, see she's still alive, appointment (blood pressure 126 over 72, which now that I think about it, my mother at 97 is pretty much smack in the middle of), I thought about B3 and how satisfied I am with it.

I knew I wanted the book to be about Miranda and Alex, and I knew that was a challenge in and of itself. I was reasonably sure at one point they would kiss, but beyond that, I didn't know exactly what would happen between them.

Well, they do kiss. More than once it turns out, but that wasn't what made me feel so self-satisfied this morning.

It was my realization that B3 is a book with ten characters, eleven if you count the baby, twelve if you count Mr. Danworth, the guy in charge of grocery deliveries, or thirteen, if you count Horton the cat. But all those ten main characters have to speak and interact and be important enough for the readers to care about them.

And that's what I think I pulled off. The ten main characters, those readers might already know (Miranda, Mom, Matt, Jon, Dad, Lisa, Alex, Julie) and those new to the book (Syl and Charlie) have their moments, their scenes. I knew, for example, that I was losing Charlie towards the end. The book had veered into Miranda/Alex, and I wasn't showing enough of Charlie. So last night, in addition to editing and extending the very last page, I threw in a tiny bit of Charlie action, thirty or forty pages earlier. Maybe two paragraphs, but enough to remind readers what a sweetheart Charlie is.

I've been saying all along that this is a very thick book. The action starts late April and ends mid-July, and there's close to 300 pages. I know plenty of stuff happens; this isn't a story where people sit around and chat about the end of the world.

But what I hadn't realized until this morning is how much of that thickness isn't just plot. It's those ten characters bumping and bruising each other. And until I hear otherwise (which could well happen, since no one has read what I've written, except for my friend Christy who's read the last 20 pages or so), I'm going to be quite pleased with what I've written.

I have a little less than half of the book left to line edit, and then I'll give myself a day or two before emailing it to my editor and my agent. I doubt either of them will read it before I go to LA on vacation, so I'm confident that I can enjoy waking up and marveling at my genius for at least another week!


heather t said...

Woo hoo! Good for you.

And thanks so much for sharing this journey - giving us a peek into what it is like to be a real writer writing a real book.

I just published my first bit of fan-fic - on the internet, of course - and, dang, is it hard!

Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you continue to do so with your next book!

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hi Heather T-

Congratulations on your first publication. You probably have a bigger readership than I do!

Writing books is always an interesting journey, and blogging while writing has only made the process that much more so. In some ways it helps me clarify my thoughts (which is a good thing) and in other ways, it let's me boast about my accomplishments (at least until my editor tells me everything stinks and I have to start from scratch!).

I was going to work on the line editing this morning, but following the tradition of this entire book, it's after lunch and I haven't begun yet. I should probably rename the book, This World We Live In When We Get Around To It.

Ozziegirl said...

You do not have to answer this if you dont want to. What was one funny thing that you did in your childhood?

Anonymous said...

The worst part about writing on the computer is that its too easy to switch to the internet (which is what I'm doing right now - well, that and trying to keep my oldest daughter and her friends from fighting with my son and his friends.)

I think a character in B3 should have a Bar Mitzvah. (At least I'm off my 'gang' kick.)


Anonymous said...

It did (sort of) contained spoilers.

i knew it would so HA!!!!!!!!!!!!