Today I am back home, doing massive amounts of laundry and also doing revisions on Huw the Bard. For the last week I have been trundling up and down the I-5 corridor in Western Washington like an elderly gypsy in a 2009 Subaru Forester. Or, as I like to think of the old family wagon, the Handbasket to Hell.
Anyone who regularly has to drive this particular stretch of highway knows what I am talking about.
The traveling population in Western Washington numbers about 5,229,486 people, and they are ALL eventually funneled onto the 6 to 8 lanes of I-5. Except for I-405, that 30 mile long stretch of misery that bypasses Seattle east of Lake Washington, this is it, folks. Unlike civilized places like the Midwest or Florida, you get only ONE major highway serving five-and-a-quarter million people out here in the urban-wilds.
Basically the legislature in Washington State is too dysfunctional to even begin contemplating fixing a toilet, much less our traffic troubles. The feds also feel that under normal circumstances conestogas and Sasquatches require very little in the way of freeway access, so there you are.
Oh, the Agony.
Olympia, Tacoma, and Seattle each have public transportation systems in place, and you can make it on public transport if you work at it, although it becomes a looooooooong journey with many tricky connections. This is the least expensive option and if you have all day and little cash, it’s doable.
There is also the time honored Greyhound Bus for those brave souls who don’t mind the smell of a rolling Porta Potty AND who enjoy the thrill of being stranded in the worst, sleaziest sections of strange cities.
But there is no light-rail connecting Olympia to Everett. Believe me, if there were I would take it! I could ride Amtrak, but that is $24.00 each way, rather expensive for an underfunded book-monger like myself to consider. And then I’d still have to find a transit bus to Snohomish. I could use my daughter’s car once I got to Snohomish, so it may become an option.
At certain rare, beautiful times (after 8 pm or before 5 am) my journey to Seattle will take 1 hour, exactly as it should. However, most of the time the traffic is such that I allow 2 hours to Seattle and 3 to Snohomish. As I inch along in the bumper-to-bumper traffic, I feel that if the car is rolling forward, even if it is only going 20 mph, I must be making progress!
While I am away from home, every coffee bar or cafeteria where I see the words ‘free wifi’ becomes my office! Grandma pops open the hand-bag, hauls out the little Acer and voila! Grandma is back in business. Not only that, but Grandma can write a book while helping Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader team up with Batman and the Green Lantern for a little kick-ball, pausing only to walk to the Pilchuck Drive In for a snack of those lovely morsels of greasy, salty goodness that we call fries (that’s ‘chips’ to you in the UK.)
Yes, I am that kind of grandma. (Here kid, eat yer spuds. They’ll make ya into a superhero.)
I have begun fleshing out Billy Ninefingers, and holy krraapp, once again I’ve fallen in love with my characters. I just LOVE the Rowdies and the snarky merriment Billy seems to generate.
Irene Luvaul and I have just finished the first draft of ‘Mountains of the Moon’, with me writing and Irene reading and removing ‘thats’ and ‘which'(s) right and left, along with de-comma-tizing frantically, and directing me to “Show not tell!” The woman is a saint, to want to do this on such a raw manuscript. She began work on the beginning chapters before I had even finished the story, but that gave me the impetus to just get it done.
As I mentioned before, Irene and I are embarking on the third edit of Huw the Bard, preparatory to sending him to Carlie Cullen.
By trial and error, I have discovered that I need two sets of editorial eyes on my wretched work – and when Carlie has made her trip though and I have fixed her findings to her satisfaction, my sister, Sherrie DeGraw, and several others will beta-read it, checking to see that it is ready for publication.
All this while, Carlie and Irene are writing their own wonderful works, and Sherrie is painting her little heart out.
When you are an indie author, if you want your work to be enjoyable, you must have a thick hide and the ability to work with others even if they are telling you things you don’t want to hear. Believe me, there is no agony like the agony of a bad review, other than that of having your heart ripped from your chest.
Write the story the way it falls out of your head. Rewrite the story until you are satisfied with it. Find an editor who is HAPPY to work with you, and TAKE THEIR ADVICE by sucking it up and making the revisions they have requested. Go through the MS at least 3 times with them, or even 4. Then find another editor, a ‘Line-editor” and go through the same process. Have the book beta-read by people who read in your genre.
Spend the time that it takes to make your book reader-ready and you will have a product you can be proud of.
Even if you’ve written it while riding in a handbasket to hell.