I’m not answering this month’s question “For how long do you shelve your first draft, before reading it and re-drafting?” because I’m too tired to correlate any sort of thought process onto paper. I hate to blame yet another “issue” on Covid-19, however… (I apologize for rambling.) Have you met anyone that isn’t affected by this pandemic? What a huge influencer it’s been. It’s brought out the worst and the best in people.
I’m through the first stages of editing Kiss of the Assassin. Les Tucker, an excellent content editor with my Canadian publisher, encouraged me to cut as many pronouns as I could. I started off by dreading the idea. Pronouns are a writer’s best friend, correct? I had over 15,000.
I cut hundreds. I cheated a bit, (it felt like cheating) when I switched she to Marina, and he to Mateo. But I soon got into the groove, so much so I then went on to hunt for every unnecessary filter word, adverb, and adjective I could find. The manuscript was almost 2000 words lighter by the time I finished. In fact, I had to shout, “Stop editing.”
Now while I wait for my line editor to send the manuscript back I’m thinking, “God bless you, Les Tucker.”
I began the first draft of Kiss of the Assassin in 1991. Some of you weren’t even born yet. Our house was full of teenage boys–who have teenagers and grown children of their own now. I do remember feeling exhausted. Yet, before I even began Kiss of the Assassin, I’d already written two full manuscripts, Always Father’s Child and Dead Witness 2008, all the while managing a house, a job, 2 cats, 2 dogs, 5 kids and a husband.
Then, for 10 years publishers told me, “Nobody’s interested in Vietnam, sorry.”
Kiss of the Assassin is about how the war changes the lives of two enemies, a Soviet spy and a Mexican-American special forces sergeant. It’s a love story with an X-rating due to extreme violence and coarse language. I’m generally not that type of writer, but I love this story and was compelled to write it. War is ugly. Love is beautiful.
Today I’d like to take a moment to say “thank you” to all the editors I’ve worked with. I’m a better writer because of you.
Have a great day, everyone.
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