Monday, December 12, 2011

Clean and Company Clean

The large stacks of books are a staple in my living room. Either on the small end table or on the floor by the couch in easy reach. There's also a toy or four my son has left. My DD has her own stuff lying about. The area rug...sigh. I swear I vacuum at least once a day, but it doesn't look it ever. With all this I still consider the living room clean. If I'm not tripping over it and it won't grow fur, then it's fine. This last rule of thumb keeps the house pretty clean. 

Until the moment company is on it's way over. At that point the house is atrocious. Everything seen and unseen needs a wipe down. The toys must go. So do the books. The couches cushions and pillows needs a good fluff. I crack open a window; spritz the air with air freshener. I don't care if I have to break out tweezers that area rug is going to looked vacuumed for once. After thirty minutes of running around like a chicken with its head cut off the house would then be company clean. 

I revise the same way.  I revise and fix all the things I can find wrong with the story. Depending on the WIP, I may believe the story is the best story I've ever written vs. I have no idea what's wrong with this sucker. I send it out to get a verdict. Go through it again. Send it out one last time. Fix it and believe it is the best story I've ever written. I write out the synopsis or add in the details if I wrote it beforehand. I put in an actual editor's name in the query. I save the document to the publisher's specifications. 

And then I think, this is actually going to be read by an editor. Sheer panic ensues. This is going to be read by an EDITOR. Any lines I trip up over gets cut. All the off color jokes that probably were only funny to me gets cut. I add a little more here and there. I whip the font into shape. I triple check the margins. I make sure all the chapters follow a consecutive order. There have been times I've had three chapters eleven. An EDITOR is going to read this keeps going around in my mind. When I get to the point where I'm fine with every single word then the story is ready. 

So, there's ready and then there's submission ready. My guess, the story lives in a nebulous unreal world until that moment. I don't get it, but then again my house is clean until company is coming.  

Is your house clean until company is coming over? Is your WIP ready until you're about to send to an editor or agent?

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