Wednesday, November 20, 2013

HELL Is On Its Way

I, Donis, here in the wilds of Arizona, can't write about anything that will top Toronto's current mayoral sideshow, or brag about an addition to the family, but I do have some news that makes me happy. My seventh Alafair Tucker Mystery, Hell With the Lid Blown Off, is done. The seal of approval has been applied and the book has been given a place on the Poisoned Pen Press publishing schedule. It is due to see the light of day in June of next year. In fact, the cover artist has been sending around prospective covers, and I believe that as of today we may have a finalist. Here it is, Dear Type M Readers. You are the very first to have a gander.

What do you think?

So the book is done at last. It took me a long time, as it usually does. And as usual when I finally finish a novel, I am brain dead. I have another novel half-finished, something that may begin a new series, and my plan was to immediately go to work on it once I got Hell off my hands. Instead I spend an hour or so checking Facebook and my email. Play a little on-line Solitaire. Bring up the half-done book and sit and look at it for a while. Then I get up and go clean something. I think I had just better forget it for a couple of weeks.

I much prefer doing revisions to writing the first draft of a novel. In my metaphorical little world, writing the first draft of novel is a coarse, rough, sweaty process. You slap that gesso on the wall by the bucket load and slather on the background paint. It’s messy and hard and, for me, a daily act of will to accomplish. But rewriting takes real skill. It requires a true eye, real delicacy and finesse to shape that big old expanse of plaster into a work of art.

I enjoy the rewrites. I love to see the story change shape and, if I'm lucky and skilled enough, grow into something beautiful. Of course, there are those horrible moments when you realize that I'm going to have to lose a scene that I really liked, or that word of which I am so enamoured because it no longer fits the picture. I think perhaps that’s when you know you’re a real writer, when you can cut good stuff for the greater good of the story.

It takes a lot of discipline to write, or at least to get anything finished. Like a lot of writers, I often wonder if I’ve really got enough of that pesky discipline, and if I’m ever going to finish anything again. And yet somehow, I always do.


Irene Bennett Brown said...

I think the cover is incredible -- one hell of a good cover! And I can hardly wait for the book. June, June, come soon!

Judith Starkston said...

I love the cover. Looking forward to this one in June. I'm with you on the different feel of drafting versus editing.