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Monday, August 24, 2020

 


Or, as was going through my mind as I thought about writing this blog, “Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my!”

Because that’s about how I’ve felt lately. I’m in the revision stage of The Case of the Comely Clairvoyant, which is where an author tries to turn the passionate explosion of words on the page, or screen as is the case now, into an entertaining novel.

Now, I generally have a good idea where I’m going to have to make some changes. For instance, as I was drafting this novel, I realized a scene I was writing had already been written a few scenes before. Rather than trying to make sense of it in draft mode (because stopping to try to make things perfect at that stage often leads to totally giving up in dismay), I kept writing, knowing I’d have to merge the two versions at a later time.

This is that later time. I struggled through that, thinking that the next time I’d have to face work of that magnitude would be in the climax of the book. I knew I didn’t have enough details there. I’d left out the clue that told Titus who was the real murderer. A minor oversight, really. I knew what it was in my head. I’d just never found a place to put it in the story.

But long before I got to that scene, I realized that I’d run out of days in my month. I’d assumed this book took place during the month of August, very shortly after The Case of the Angry Artist. But as I was working through the changes, I realized I had more than four weeks worth of story, and that the way incidents fell, I had the hearing starting on Labor Day. I crossed my fingers and hoped Labor Day wasn’t a holiday yet.

Sorry. Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday in June of 1894, just in time to be celebrated in Shipwreck Point in this novel. You might think I could just have the hearing start on Tuesday, but there were other events that had to take place on certain days of the week. (You’ll understand once you read the story. Or maybe you won’t, but I’ll know that the Whitby Weekly has to publish on Tuesday morning and that other things have to happen before that.)

So, like dominoes falling, a whole bunch of scenes had to be changed and a couple of new ones added. I mean, I’d be bothered if an author told me that the trial had to start the day after Labor Day and then totally ignored anything that happened on that day.

So I stopped and spent a day with an 1894 calendar, penciling in when each chapter takes place and making sure I don’t run into any problems like putting a tea party on a weekday, when Elisabeth would be working, or a band concert on Thursday rather than Sunday evening.

I do hope to have all of this work done in a couple of days, followed by a quick run through a grammar/punctuation checker to snag all the silly mistakes, so I can send it off to my beta readers by next weekend.

Then I can chew my nails while they read it, and try to keep myself busy with other tasks so I don’t worry too much about what awfulness they’ll discover that I totally overlooked. Then a proofread and formatting, which are fairly lengthy but easy tasks, and the book will be ready to publish.

So while I haven’t reached the finish line yet, I can see it from here. With any luck, by next month at this time, so will you.

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