mad in pursuit notebook

DISPATCHED FROM THE CROSSROADS

Revising

Someone said "all writing is revising." Ain't it the truth. Even Jack Kerouac, who spewed out the entire manuscript of "On the Road" in one marathon session, spent the next four years revising it for publication.

When I was preparing my Pakistan thriller for publication in the '90s, I must have revised it a thousand times. Plot, chapters, paragraphs, sentences, words. The final time I sent it off to my agent, it was as polished as polished could be. I thought.

Now it seems verbose. Maybe writing my 300-word fishing columns and my two-minute radio scripts has taught me something after all. I'm going through, line by line, deleting phrase after phrase. And paring back some needless detail on the minor characters.

And the sex scenes. Phew! What was I thinking??? Actually, I know exactly what I was thinking, in excruciating detail. Time to dial back the porn element a bit for something a little more subtle. A little more artful -- ooh, no promises about "art."

Anyway, I'm having fun. It's totally absorbing. The television in my studio is broken, anyway -- a good thing. Do I have the courage not to replace it?

I was checking out the self-publishing again at Amazon (CreateSpace) today. Am I crazy? Do I have the confidence to do this?

11.12.2008

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