AIR Manuscript - Down the Seemingly Endless Editorial Road...


I lie, of course. No project is ever endless. It just feels that way sometimes...

Edits on AIR, my Pearl Harbor epic length literary novel, are chugging along. I'm on the last third of the manuscript.

This time is the most difficult for me. Emotionally, I've closed the book on this book, so to speak. I've experienced all there is to experience in this tale — the great, the horrific, and the gut-wrenching sad — and my mind has put those Pearl Harbor days back into the past where they belong.

As with any author, comes the struggle between needing to do the editing work on a prior piece while newer projects plea for attention.

My goal to submit the AIR MS to my New York editor still stands — late summer/early fall.

I know once it goes to her, I'll be facing rewrites. It's part and parcel of the book writing process. And that fact alone spurs me to get a decent start on the newer projects, so they'll have a chance to breathe in draft as my focus returns to those editorial rewrites.

Lately, though, it's been tough mentally, juggling new drafts and editing AIR. Maybe juggling is not the best decision, but in order for my creative mind to stop nagging me, I've had to placate it by starting these new pieces as well as carving out time for AIR.

Sadly, I've put my beta reader on several extreme holds in this process, but there ya go. It is what it is. Thank heavens, the reader is a patient soul.

The editorial end is close. I know that. I can see the proverbial light at the end of a very long tunnel. The last third to edit, the last third to beta read, the last third to make changes before my time with the AIR manuscript comes to an end.

There will be a final ROL — Read Out Loud — of the complete manuscript for those lingering gaffes, and then away it will go to NYC. Personally, the moment it flies to my editor, I think I will experience some heavy feelings. Not worrying feelings; more so, a kind of postpartum numbness, and a quiet sense of relief that I managed to corral such a big literary beast. It's been many years in the making. I've actually lost count. I think it's coming up on my fourth year on this singular work. The largest research/writing project I've undertaken since starting my full time career as a novelist. I never asked myself if I could do it. I only heard those sailors in my imagination stating that I must. From time to time, we all must walk a difficult path, no questions asked.

I've printed a hard copy for the final ROL — of the first 200 pages seen in this photo, printed on both sides of the page to save paper — and the pile sits beside me patiently waiting. Occasionally, I look over at the word pile with wonder. It doesn't matter how many books I've written. Whenever I see a newly printed manuscript, I marvel at my brain conjuring up something from nothing. It must be the same feeling any artist gets. To see a lump of clay or stone, then view a magnificent sculpture. To see a blank canvas, then view a vibrant painting. Humans who hear the call to create have that singular experience. A pipe fitter, who sees a community without water, feels satisfaction as people happily drink from a tap. Or a surgeon witnessing the ravages of brain damage feels elation at seeing a tortured patient healed. When humans study and work hard to create something good, that quiet satisfaction overwhelms, and there in front of you is the product of humanity at its best.

For today, and several more days to go, I will have my work cut out. The fat lady hasn't yet sung on AIR. My six sailors are still fighting for their lives in the capsized battleship. And with every word assessed, I, and them, will get closer to The End, where the time will come when readers can open this book and enter the world I've been inhabiting for years. No matter how long I hover on this mortal coil, the magic of book writing and reading will never not amaze.

The journey continues...

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B J's Bookshelf...

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
The Hobbit
Sessions
The Joy Luck Club
All the King's Men
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Mansfield Park
Faust: First Part
The Catcher in the Rye
Islands in the Stream
And the Sea Will Tell
Animal Farm
Charlotte's Web
Sophie's Choice
Angela's Ashes
Memoirs of a Geisha
Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood
The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
The Hunt for Red October


B. J. Thomspon's favorite books »

B J's Literary Heros ~ Ernest Hemingway ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald ~ James A. Michener ~ Herman Wouk ~ James Jones ~ Vincent Bugliosi

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