Monday, August 3, 2009

State of the Rising

“Wait—back up. What did you just say?”

Robin looks up peering over the back of the laptop. I can only see her eyes and the bridge of her nose, but I can see the same forced innocence the dog manages when I catch it chewing a shoe.

She looks back down and reads, “Amilia sat for several minutes searching her mind for some way to reach the girl. ‘Can I tell you a secret? Now don’t laugh…but…I’m really quite afraid of the dark. I know it’s silly but I can’t help myself. I’ve always been that way. My brothers tease me about it all the time. If you could chat with me a bit, maybe it might help me. What do you say?”

“That’s what I thought you said.” I scowl. “I didn’t write that.”

“I know you didn’t.” she admits. “I did.”

Nyphron Rising is deep in the final editing stage. I’ve personally gone over the book a dozen times. Robin went over it and asked for changes and now we are doing the polishing. Polishing is a nice word in English, it sounds pretty and conjures images of men in white gloves breathing on a tea set and rubbing it gently with a cotton cloth. In Elan it means every night in the Sullivan household is a re-enactment of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

The technique is simple. Robin sits with the laptop and reads my story to me. Hearing it out loud reveals awkward sentences, repeated words, and errors. I will stop her whenever I hear a sour note and say, “Him, him…there are two hims there change one to Hadrian.” Or, “Really did I write that? That sucks, just cut the whole thing.”

The real fun starts when we come to a section that Robin did some “heavy editing” on, that is, she rewrote something. Robin is a good editor so most of the time her re-writes take a muddy paragraph and wipe it clear, but when she decides to actually create sections I get critical. When she writes character dialog I flip out.

Now we can’t determine which of us changed.

In The Crown Conspiracy she rewrote the entire scene just before the party entered Gutaria prison. Upon reading her revision, I backed all her changes out and rewrote the whole scene myself addressing the issues she highlighted. During Avempartha, I had fewer problems with her changes, and in Nyphron Rising she is experiencing an unprecedented freedom. She insists I’ve learned to trust her more, I insist she’s become a better editor/writer.

Nyphron Rising is undergoing the most thorough editing we’ve done to any of the previous books, and it is starting to show. The sentences are smoother, cleaner, and the plot tighter. A lot of this is thanks to the efforts of my wife who is willing to throw herself in the lion’s mouth.

Nyphron Rising is going to be a much better novel because of her efforts.

“Read it again,” I tell her.

She does and I listen with my eyes closed picturing the scene, and Amilia’s face as she delivers the lines.

My wife finishes and looks up at me. “What’s wrong with it?”

I open my eyes. “Nothing. It’s good. Go on.”


  1. Sounds great! I can't wait to read it!

  2. Now that I've read it - and just read that part a few minutes ago - I have to agree that Robin did an excellent job. If it wasn't for this post, I never would've guessed anyone else but you wrote it - it fits perfectly!


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