I’ve got uncombable hair.
I drag a comb through it. Get it all lined up. Look at myself in the mirror.
I’m a killer.
I’m a god.
And then I breathe.
Just that quickly – that perfect godlike comb-job winds up looking like something that was dragged through the business end of a combine harvester.
I used to have long hair.
Long like this.
(that’s me in the Aquaman costume, in case you were confused, Mera is actually my wife Belinda)
(and what is up with Aquaman? How come he comes out of the water every time without ever having to comb his hair?)
The hair was uncombable – but when it’s that long you can sort of get away with faking it. You could get away with saying such hoopdoodlery as “Hey, I’m not into conforming to civilization’s unreasonable expectations.” or “Yeah, the wind caught me.” or – if you’re in your teenage years you can even get away with a blank stare followed by “Comb?”
Or, for a couple of summers I even tried this.
Then, when I reached the age of fifty I decided to have it cut short. To hell with combing. I had it cut reasonably short and settled on looking like the way I look on that blog photo to the right of this entry.
Unfortunately, unless I want to opt for a special forces buzz cutt the darned stuff still needs combing. Not all of the hair gels of Arabia – or Shopper’s Drug Mart – would neaten this mop.
Editing is a little like that.
The first time you begin to comb through the manuscript the darned thing is completely unmanageable. The chapters won’t line up. You can’t decide whether your hero is a blonde or a brunette. You misused there instead of their about two thousand and eighty two times.
It’s absolutely impossible.
Then, you begin to build a little structure and the work begins to come together.
Finally, when you are happy with it, comes the best part of all. The part when you send your work off to your editor.
Which, in hindsight, is a little like sending your delinquent teenager to a military academy. Let somebody else worry about that little sucker. Let somebody else get him into shape. Turn him into a man.
(I know, I know, I have dropped my metaphors into a blender and hit frappe)
Then, sooner or later the little fellow comes back – and he’s carrying a gun.
Damn it, that seemed like a perfect plan at the beginning of things, now didn’t it?
Editing is the same way. Sooner or later you’re editor sends your work back to you and you have begin to comb it straight it all over again.
(whizz, frappe, whizz, frappe…)
Only this time you have some step-by-step directions to follow.
It is as if the god of design reached out his magic highlighter and crayoned out a few step-by-step comb-to-the-dotted line directions.
That’s where I’m at this morning. I am about 125 pages into a 300 page manuscript that has been gone over carefully by my editor and I am picking my way through the blue and red lines, looking for glitches and queries – like – “Wasn’t this dude red-headed three chapters ago?” or “How did ten bullets grow out of a six shot revolver anyway?” or “Who in the hell ever told you that you were a writer?”
Well, maybe not that last one. I might just be reading between the lines.
(Danger Will Robinson, frappe overload is iminent…)
The book is entitled TATTERDEMON and you are going to have to wait just a little bit longer before I can pass any more information your way.
For now, I’m just going to continue to comb my hair and play with my blender.
…whiz, frappe, whizzzz, frappe, whizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….
yours in storytelling,