Last night, I filled the last hole in Dead Aggies Don’t Drive Trains. It was almost exactly eight months after the dream that precipitated the story, and nine months after the train ride that precipitated the dream.
Today is Two-for-the-Price-of-One-Presidents Day, a bargain holiday if there ever was one. It gives me an opportunity to run through the story again and print a draft to read to Lois. She knits or quilts, and I read. She’ll stop me every so often with a question or a suggestion, and I’ll get irritated before remembering: If Lois can’t figure it out, neither can anybody else. She’s a good critic. Every writer needs a Lois, but they can’t have mine. I’ll grumble, change something, and keep going. Eventually we’ll get through it. She’ll take the draft, bleed all over it, and I’ll grumpily make more changes. That’s Round Two.
Round Three is submittal to a publisher. Round Four is waiting to see if they like it enough to publish it. That might take another year or so. In the meantime, I’ll still be tweaking. Publication is the only cure for tweaking.
Note the “if” in the paragraph above. My Dutch blood and my Scotch blood up to now have allied to scotch (wonder where that came from?) any urge to self publish. It costs money. I’m cheap or chicken. Take your pick.
If my story makes it through Round Four, an editor probably will tell me, “My, your draft is so clean!” That happened with the other three. I’ll have to fess up and tell them they’re Editor Number Two.
So don’t hold your breath. Round Five is a ways out there yet.