Pear Tree Blossoms
Blossoms on our pear tree beside the lake peek out
A few at a time
Then more . . . and, finally, the pear tree standing in a dress of white blossoms.
Book writing, too, starts small . . .
My memoir began as a Kinko-bound collection of scenes, a collaboration with my friend Carolyn in 1999.
Then Artist Man entered with a booklet of sketches, more baby steps, 2001
Tomato Girl with watercolor studies
The Story formed, like a sketch on an easel, sort of
From the colored stickies and after days, months and years, a draft emerged
Now, the book has become something else
- About Rheems, more than Queens although New York City appears in one chapter
- About working in the tomato field, but more
- With a pear tree, a willow tree, oaks and maples, anchoring a childhood playground
My book has been revised and edited, ad infinitum.
In the beginning, readers helped me shape the shifting sands of my unformed mass of ideas into a recognizable story. Then I paid for deep developmental editing, twice, using editors that suggested moving content from here to there, adding and deleting.
Then followed an editorial evaluation, revision, more editing, self-editing, more rounds of proofreading. One dear memoirist, Liesbet, even volunteered to do another editing, to polish.
Next steps: typesetting; then one final author review.
Soon the book will be out of my hands.
Root out repetition
Stamp out that semicolon
Tramp those typos
Egads! Is the modifier dangling?
How did that misspelling sneak in?
Anne Bradstreet, dear lady, sweat bullets over her book, and shows how hard it is to let go of her brainchild
Want more editing inspiration?
The Artful Edit by Susan Bell, which Goodreads describes as a “vigorous investigation into the history and meaning of the edit. This book, like The Triggering Town and The Elements of Style, is a must-have companion for every writer.” The author takes illustrations from F. Scott Fitzgerald, Michael Ondaatje, Tracy Kidder, and Ann Patchett.
Your Turn: Tips for memoirists, and other writers; parallel (or different) experiences at any stage of the writing game. All welcome!