Fear not. It's on my calendar for next Monday, because I wanted to do it on the first Monday of the month. So look for it then. If you don't know what this is all about, the rules are simple: I post a prompt, you write a short story of 1,000 words or less, and I post it. Everyone comments. Anybody can write.
In the meantime, I'm down to the nub on a rewrite I began earlier this summer. I've actually rewritten the book two complete times since I started three months ago. And I'm very close now -- I expect I'll send it off to my agent next week, or maybe this week if lightning strikes and all my existing clients give me a magical week off. Then we'll wait to hear from the Editor who asked for the rewrite in the first place.
I'm approaching the end of this rewrite with a complicated and conflicted set of emotions. It's very strange, and I can't figure out what it all means. On the one hand, I'm very proud of this book. It has some very cool characters and some really cool adventures (and, yes, I'm pimping my own novel). The thematic structure feels solid, and there are some moments I just love.
But ... I'm not entirely sure I like the book. Is that weird? It changed a lot, based on the rewrite letter. In some ways, it became a different story about a different kid, and I kind of miss the original kid. He was close to me. Perhaps most alarming of all, I don't feel as emotionally invested as I have in the past. Yes, I worked like a dog, and no, I didn't take any shortcuts. But I'm not losing sleep over this. It's just a book.
This feeling isn't new to me—I've written hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles, maybe thousands. Probably thousands. These are just products to me. I write for food. I always think it's kinda cute when an editor calls up, nervous, and says, "Um, we need a few changes, is that OK?" Ha ha. Is that OK? You tell me what you need. I'll do it. Simple as that.
But fiction has always occupied a different space for me. It's always been so much closer, so much harder to produce and therefore so much more fraught with emotion and ego and insecurity, like an exposed nerve. Not this time. And it's seriously freaking me out, if I'm being honest.
So you tell me ... how do you end rewrites? Skidding across the finish line, exhilarated, sweating, swearing, heart pounding like a new parent? Or more like the guy you hired to fix your roof, pleased but also looking forward to heading home and washing the job off? And what does it all mean?