It’s Not Over When It’s Over

Y Wyddfa dominated the horizon, separated from the island by the turbulent waters of the strait and miles of open wild country.  Even from this distance, he could see that its rugged crest was still laced with winter white.  The sky was dark, as if a storm approached, and the air around him crackled with power.  As he climbed higher up the slope, the wind grew fierce, tossing his red‑blond hair into wild tangles.  Up he strode and then down again, and the rocky rise behind him hid the gray‑green shadow of the distant mountain from view.

Seren neither saw nor felt the forces around him.  Her face floated before him, ebony eyes filled with terror, pleading to him for help.  How could it be?  It was all wrong—the place, the time.  She did not belong here.

And how could Iolo expect him to take her life?  But of course Iolo had no way of knowing.  Or did he?

–snippet from Forever Lovers, Forever Foes, by Aydan Forrest

At the moment, I have a number of books in various stages of creation. One is in first-draft form, currently with a friend who is reading it over before I dive into rewrites. Another is in an “almost done” state, with one (I hope) rewrite to go. The third is still being researched and outlined.

It’s the second that I pulled out today, the aforementioned Forever Lovers, Forever Foes. It’s an old manuscript, originally penned many years ago, which has already undergone some major overhauls in the last year. I hadn’t looked at it in some time, thinking it was pretty well done, and only awaiting the cover art. After blogging about it, however, I decided to pull it out again.

Naturally, I found a whole list of little things that bother me.

Today, I began going through it, focusing mainly on point of view issues that need a bit of tweaking. I’m also finding other minor things to fix.

I’m sure new writers, people with stars in their eyes and ideas in their heads, probably think that the wisdom of the King of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland actually holds true:

“Begin at the beginning, “the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

While these words might work well for a portion of the process, getting to the end of a book most certainly isn’t the time to call it “done”. As a matter of fact, books don’t even usually begin at the beginning. Before you can even start the actual writing of your story, there is plotting, character development, outlining, research, and more to be done.

Then, you write “The End” … and you start all over again.

This is at least the fifth editing run that Forever Lovers has gone through.  There were at least two major rewrites of the first draft before the “minor rewrites” began. Then, I pulled it out of mothballs twenty years later and had to do another serious overhaul to update the technology to something more current. After that came an “editing revision”, to catch little errors in syntax, help the words flow more smoothly, and dig out the many little typos that aliens and gremlins inserted into the book while I wasn’t looking.

Now, I’ve made the mistake of reading it again. I couldn’t believe how many little bits of literary lint bothered me enough that I had to start picking them off.

Books are like that. Once you commit to one, it becomes a living, breathing entity. It has a life of its own that grows and changes like a perennial garden. It goes from seed to sprout to bloom to seed, and then it starts all over again. Throughout the process it needs watering, pruning, nurturing and a whole lot of weeding. It’s only when the gardener is satisfied that the story can be plucked, wrapped up in love, and handed off to those who will be blessed to read the words.

For the next week or two, therefore, my focus will be on the final run-through of Forever Lovers. I’m hoping I’ll finally run into the friendly neighborhood fat lady. I’m looking forward to hearing her sing.