Category Archives: editing

Alchemy

It’s a limbo I’m sure all writers understand.  The book is finished, and has been reduced to the essence of what it should be. I’ve always thought writing, or any creative activity, is like alchemy.  The alchemist takes raw materials, or base matter, and subjects it to a process of reduction until there is nothing but a purified essence.  This, perhaps, is the mysterious white stone.  It is everything stripped down to all that matters.  I forget who said that good design is the art of knowing when you’ve reached the point where no more can be added, and nothing can be taken away.  Perhaps it’s the same for writing a book.  I don’t want to add any more, and I dread taking anything else away.  Meanwhile I am in limbo, waiting for my agent to reveal to me what she intends to do.  Will she represent it?  And if so, to whom?  Will she be ambitious, cautious, or will every publisher in town get to see it?  So I cook boiled eggs and eat toast.  I read more. I fidget.

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