August 13-24, 2010:

This is what happens when I am head-down in a revision. Well, three revisions, really. Days and days of cutting, hacking, sawing, sanding, pasting, un-gluing, the usual.

The initial part of the revision consisted of reading through beta-reader Debby’s major comments, which were mostly about the first half of the book, and understanding the problems therein: getting rid of the father’s pieces and concentrating on the three women whose story it truly is, as well as fixing the forward motion. The second revision went step by step through the entire novel, where Debby had affixed many more notes. The third was to go over the whole thing once again, reading it as a single piece of writing instead of many fixes. And on the way, I solved a major plot problem which both Debby and I had spied but neither of us had come up with the solution until the final final draft.

Now SNOW IN SUMMER is off to the publisher’s editor (who is off on a vacation) so it will be a while till I have to tackle this again. Just as well. I am plumb tired of the book.

Along the way, I also read a bunch of son Jason’s book proposals, worked on Bob Harris’ short story and helped him turn it into a picture book, diddled with a poem or two, and thought about other writing I need to do.

Oh–and two more rejections. As I said above–the usual.

Read Stevenson’s “Kidnapped” for the first time since I was a kid and realized it’s an absolute textbook teaching tool for how to write a brilliant short novel. Have begun the sequel, “Catriona” because I want to know how David Balfour’s story ends and actually never read it before. It isn’t a patch on the first book. Some day I ust write an Interstitial Moment for this journal on writing sequels and following books. Also read Gregory’s “White Queen,” an interesting potboiling historical with a lot of bodice-ripping elements. Good bathtub reading.

Oh, and I had some fun, too, including but not limited to: Another trip to the Pittenweem festival, this time with Christine, to pick up my purchase; two days of touristing around with friend Susannah Richards who stayed over three nights; dinner out with Elaine; dinner in at Debby and Bob’s; a wild day at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh with friends Elizabeth and Steven that culminated in a performance by Battlefield Band; dinner over at Vanessa’s with her family and an Italian colleague of Ifor’s; tea in Janie Douglas’ in-laws garden while her wonderful husband Tom cut-and-slashed his way through the undergrowth (reminding me of the work on my novel, actually, though sweatier!); and plenty of tea and comforting emails as well as Skype visits with Heidi and my brother Steve who lives in Brazil.

Not a bad life, actually.

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