A friend of mine occasionally asks how my characters are faring. How’s Joel today? she’ll write in an email.
At first her questions took me aback. They felt personal and deeply intimate. But now those questions make me giddy. Even when I haven’t had much time to write, instead of seeing those questions and feeling guilty because I haven’t had the opportunity to give my characters the attention they deserve, I pause for a moment and think, How IS Joel today?
I just finished my last major read-through of The Crossing.
I take notes as I go, instead of editing as I read. That way I’m able to maintain the novel’s flow in my head; I’m able to tell if sentence follows sentence, paragraph follows paragraph, scene follows scene, seamlessly. When I get to the end I look at my notes, usually a dozen pages of what needs to be changed. But this last time around I had less than one page.
That’s how I know I’m getting close.
From now on I’ll be looking for minor edits, keeping an eye out for stray commas and homophones. I’ll also make sure that the novel’s structure makes sense; in an earlier draft, Joel’s life was measured by James’s semesters. But now I’ve blocked the novel differently, and I want to make sure that works. I added a few moments during my last read-through, too, and I want to make sure they make sense when read against the novel as a whole. After my photography shoot in May, for example, we ended up with some great photos of James (Addison Roush) peeling off his coat to give to Joel (Evan Shaw) on the night of his 25th birthday. (Look at this photo in dim light, so you can really see what’s going on.) That moment never happened in the original scene. But we ended up with those shots courtesy of Josh Baker and they were so perfect that just yesterday I added it in. I’ll make sure when I read through the novel that the addition wasn’t a mistake.
I don’t think it was.
Then I’ll be ready to work with my designer to get this novel into your hands. We’re already revamping my website in preparation.
Soon you’ll be able to see for yourself how Joel’s doing.
p.s. While you’re waiting, give I, too, Have Suffered in the Garden another look, and in the comments below, tell me what you thought. Did you love it? Did Adam make you crazy? (Oh, you still haven’t read it? Click here to purchase.)
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