Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Carpal Tunnel Vision -- Jay

Why am I loving this so much? That’s what I keep wondering as I edit 13 Reasons Why. In the past, before I sold this book, I could take all the time in the world to tweak the elements of a work-in-progress. And I could keep on tweaking till I was satisfied, tired, or ready to work on something else. But now, there’s a deadline. There's an actual date--on the calendar!--after which I can’t tweak any more. On that day, the book has to be done.


I’m adding scenes, rotating scenes, fleshing out characters, deleting scenes, and twisting the end. All the while, in the back of my head, a voice keeps screaming, “Don’t screw it up!”

And it's fascinating. It’s a puzzle I can totally lose myself in. If I add Scene A, I have to move Scene B into the next chapter. And if I do that, that chapter’s going to start a little slower which might make it lose some momentum (not good for a suspense novel). So maybe I can twist that scene a little, shorten it up, and make it move faster. And to flesh out Character A, I can change his relationship to Character B by adding this line of dialogue which will also make the last chapter, still 83 pages away, so much more intense. Oh, and remember, “Don’t screw it up!”

Between my critique group, my agent, and the people at Penguin, maybe a dozen people have read this manuscript in its entirety. But only a handful of them know the changes I’m putting into it. And only I know how it’s coming along. Which means only I know if I’m screwing it up…which is exciting and scary at the same time.

And I’m lovin’ it!

- Jay


Disco Mermaids said...

I'm hoping that you didn't actually change Clay and Hannah's names to Character A and Character B. Because that would probably screw it up.
Anyways, it's been fun watching you go on this manic editorial ride, and I hope one day I'll be doing the same.


SilberBook-Blog said...

What I love - truly - is that even with the stress of the edit, you find time to let us into your world...and with the humor and insight that I'm sure fuels 13 Reasons,,,,

Can't wait til you're done with the edit- which will mean it gets closer to letting us mortals read it.

happy turkey -