Yesterday I was talking about how the end is not the end at all. See, re-writing the way I do before I ever show it to another soul prevents me having to have the chat about “oh, and I plan to fix that” or “wait, see I am going to change this” because whenever I have had that chat about my books with people, I always felt like a little school boy with my tail between my legs, enduring conversations with adults as they lead me through the tedium of things I already know.
“You need to do this. And you need to do that.”
“I know, Dad. I know.”
“Well if you know, why didn’t you do it?”
Sheesh, I hate being on the wrong end of those conversations. However, if I do ALL the work, and get the book to the point where I really don’t feel as if I need to do more, then my conversations with the people who read my book will al take place in the realm of, “Oh really… hmmm. Good point. I hadn’t considered that.” Or “Wow, that was a blind spot to me, I totally thought I covered that.”
Every conversation once the book is in “really ready form” is thus productive and helpful to me.
Additionally, there are times when I am free to disregard their opinions. It rarely happens with small stuff or plot holes or character inconsistencies – I almost always go re-address those aspect of feedback – but then again, there are often way fewer o those type of comments simply because I remained patient and did not show the book until it was time for me to do so.
Note: I will fix grammar and parallelism and misspellings and the such if I catch them but the thing about publishing with one of the majors is that the book will, I know, be copy-edited… which means that multiple who like to read books like the Chicago Manual of Style just for fun will go through my book with a fine-tooth comb before it hits the shelves. So, no, I am not necessarily reading for mechanical errors. Especially since when you pen a 55,000 word book it’s practically impossible to be your own proofreader – you simply develop poor vision for small things because you’ve been over the book a zillion times in your head and on the computer screen before.)
Ultimately, my feeling is that a climax isn’t really a climax unless it’s a HUGE pay-off – like I said, for the characters as well as for the reader – and in order for everything to really pay-off, as the author, I had to have known the true soul of the book which, as I also already stated, I really can’t know until I’ve written it.
The end thus becomes, in a way, the first real beginning. And going back to page one once I feel great about the climax is truly when the work gets fun. In a way, I guess, all writers are mystery writers, revealing a “what is going to happen next” story to the audience.
And once you know what happens next, it’s way easier to go back to the beginning to throw in the dead-ends that will really prove not to have been dead-ends, the cliff-hangers that actually proved to be the least of the character’s real worries at the time, instead of the height of them, and stuff like that.
Be a patient writer, I say. Go do all the work, get it spic-n-span and then release it out to your inner-circle for feedback. That’s the way I do it and, as I’ve discovered, it’s a strategy that results in heightened productivity.