Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The World Would Be So Much Better If September Had 35 Days

I mean, what's the hurry to get to October?

I ask this perfectly sensible question because I seem to have a September 30 deadline for completing the rewrites of The Shade Of The Moon.

Oh heck. I do have a September 30 deadline, and unlike practically everything else in my life, this one is all my fault.

First of all, one should never write a book in the springtime because then the publishing house has to read it in the summer, and nothing happens in the publishing industry in the summer. To be honest about it, very little happens in the publishing industry in any of the other seasons, but it's even worse in the summertime.

Back in the days when editors had to read actual manuscripts, I heard about one author whose manuscript got left on a beach by her editor (this did not happen to me, but it still puts chills down my spine, which is kind of handy on a hot summer's day).

The next foolish thing I did was insist on a Fall 2013 publication date for The Shade Of The Moon. I am a very impatient person, and in this particular case, I'm super duper impatient to be actually retired. I figured if the book was published in the Fall of 2013 (aka a year from now) then a year and a day from now I could be actually retired. But if I said, No let's wait, no hurry, Spring 2014 will be just fine, then I wouldn't be actually retired until Spring 2014, which is a good six months after Fall 2013, regardless of how many days there are in September.

My editor, with a smile on her face and malice in her heart*, said, Yes, that's fine, let's do it, and here is my long well thought out list of every single thing you have to change in the manuscript, the big things, the little things, oh why not change everything while you're at it. No hurry. October 1 will be just fine.

Naturally I agreed, since I was under the impression September had at least 33 days, or maybe as many as 37, given how early Columbus Day weekend is this year. That left me tons of time to watch every tennis match at the US Open and  go to New Paltz Crafts Fair and read Meat Loaf's memoirs and vacuum and have house guests and celebrate my mother's 101st birthday and mourn over the demise of my beloved New York Yankees (stop snickering, Red Sox** fans).

Well, the tons of time is now over, as is nearly half of September. To make things just a tad worse, I'm going away on a fabulous 2 day vacation (please don't tell the burglars). I'm going to see a Phillies game (I should be pretty easy to spot, since I'll be wearing a red shirt) and then stay at a nice hotel and then the following morning go to the Barnes Collection, which I've always wanted to see. I should be pretty easy to spot there as well, since I'll be wearing a black shirt.

But sadly, during this itsy bitsy vacation, I won't be working on rewrites.

As of the moment, I have done 29 pages, which is approximately 10%. This would panic me no end, except that I figure if I do 10% a day, I should be able to finish and still take Yom Kippur off for fasting and atoning and the suchlike. Doing rewrites is a form of atoning, but fasting makes work a little harder.

And the first 29 pages were the hardest, since my editor's suggestions (she found all the weak spots in the manuscript, and a few that I don't even think of as weak) mostly focus on the beginning of the book, making  that the spot that takes the most time to correct. And I've worked out just about all the changes in my mind, so it's more a question of getting them into the manuscript than anything else. I even wrote them down on paper, so I won't forget what I'm supposed to do.

Don't worry about spoilers, since my handwriting is impossible to read and I changed a few things anyway.

So that's what I'm up to, or almost up to, or hoping to be up to by the end of September.

I guess all I have to remember is every day of rewrites brings me one day closer to retirement!

*Total non sequitur (which Blogspot refuses to acknowledge is an actual word, forcing me to check the spelling 3 times on Google), but they found bones they think might be Richard III, and they're running DNA tests of them to find out. For some reason, I find this absolutely fascinating.

**Ha! Blogspot doesn't believe Sox is a word either!


Glen said...

It's funny, but you want to be retired from the thing that most of us want to retire to do.


Anonymous said...

NOO!!! You can't retire!! Not now, not a year from now, not EVER!!!

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Sure, go ahead and retire. And then you can do what Glen wants to do when he retires, but you'll have the nice option of thinking of it as "not work" because you would be, after all, retired. After you finish your NEXT book, you can tell the editor you can't finish re-writes in "such a short time" (no matter the time frame) because you are, after all, retired. See? It's a plan, and you'll be retired, and we'll be happy with any additional books.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Hello and thanks to Glen, Anonymous, and Bonnie Jacobs-

I've been writing books for over 40 years, which means I've been doing rewrites for over 40 years.

Right now, it feels like I've been doing rewrites on The Shade Of The Moon for over 40 years!

Eating as a Path to Yoga said...

Susan, I was interested to your book "Kid Power" when I was in the 3rd grade. I adored that book!

Now, as an almost 37 year old, I was "over the moon" about your latest trilogy.

So excited for the title.

Susan Beth Pfeffer said...

Thank you Eating as a Path to Yoga-

I loved Kid Power too. It's one of my favorite books (that I wrote) and one I know I would have really liked reading as a kid.

It's fun to think people who read me when they were young are still reading me now!

Anonymous said...

hey Susan i liked your book the dead and the gone, it was very interesting. Many kids at my school like your book to.