Thursday, August 13, 2009

Changes in Altitudes, Changes in Attitudes

So....I forgot to post for the past little while. Sorry about that.

See, I was reading this book. Mine.

Although I'm done with the big edits, I realized that I had, um, never read my book as a book. I'd never sat down without a pen in my hand, without a clear idea of what I should change, just to read it as it's meant to be read--as a book.

So, since this is my last week of blissful freedom, I took a day to go up to the Biltmore House, sit in the lush gardens, and read my book.

Wait, what?! You've never heard of the Biltmore House?!!! Well, here it is:

Heck, yeah. That's a castle. In America. Take that, Europe!

Why did I change my location? Well, if I read it at home, I knew I'd be tempted to jump up and change something in the manuscript. Or, I'd be tempted to skim--I'd rush. But if I went somewhere else, with the sole intent of reading, I'd focus on just that: reading.

But, although there was a castle, yanno, right there, I ignored it.
Yup. This is what I ignored.

In fact, the closest I got to the actual Biltmore House was:

Instead, I went straight to the garden.

Lookit this little guy! He kept peeking around the petals! (OK, you might have to click on the pic to see it up close, but that black speck in the petals is a little bug with his antennae sticking out.)

I may be allergic to bees, but tell me that's not a cool picture.

So, after strolling around the gardens for a bit, I set up office. Here.

It was nice--it was a little out of the way, and shady.
Um. Oops. Don't know how to rotate this now that it's in Blogger. Image it rotated, though.

And I settled down to read. Now, it's basically impossible for me to read without my trusy red pen of doom and destruction, so I can't lie--I did fix a few typos (dear LORD, how many typos did I have?!) and changed about five lines of dialog and wrote a new very short scene that I'd been playing around in my head for ages (it was only a few paragraphs long). To be fair, though, I've been known to correct published books, too, so I think it's still kosher.

But all was not well in paradise.

See? See those ominous clouds? Well, before I could get very far into my manuscript, the SLUECES OF HEAVEN OPENED UP and poured down the WRATH OF AN ANGRY GOD ON MY HEAD. For reals. Lightning broke open the sky. SHEETS of water CASCADED down upon me and my hapless manuscript.

Clearly, I was not meant to edit in a castle.

So, I changed location.
After a Noah-worthy downpour, I *deserved* the large Tag-along Blizzard and side of fries, no?

So, anyway, moral of the story: read your book as a book, and be prepared for adventure that ends in ice cream!


Christine M said...

First of all, that castle is awesome! And the ice cream looks good too!

So what did you think of your story, when you reading it as a book? Did it hold up to your vision of it?

When you get your book published, you should do a book signing at that castle - because it's just too cool!

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Beth that was fabulous! I felt like a visitor at the castle with you--the turrets and pretty flowers and artsy shot of the bench (thought you planned it that way). And of course there had to be sudden storm--suspense, heroine flees. I'm glad you found substantial refuge, and, mostly, I hope you loved reading.

Kelly H-Y said...

What a gorgeous location ... and a brilliant idea! Sorry it ended in a downpour ... you DEFINITELY deserved the Blizzard after that!!! Loved this post!

PJ Hoover said...

Hmmmm...I always seem to do my read-throughs at the library. Clearly I need a change in that pattern. A big time change.
Very, very nice!

Danyelle said...


Isn't it the most magical feeling when you first read your book as a book?

Jenna said...

Lol, i am ALL for an adventure if it ends in a Tagalong Blizzard! :D

That's a beautiful castle, and beautiful gardens. I can't imagine a more perfect place to just sit and read. I envy you! :D

I think you're right, too. Sometimes you just have to sit and read your own work as it's meant to be read--without the red pen.

Awesome, awesome, awesome post.

Trisha Pearson said...

Wow! What a beautiful place!

B.J. Anderson said...

That is a very awesome idea. And that castle is totally awesome. What a beautiful place. And OMG, that blizzard looks so good I may have to go buy one.

beth said...

Yay! Thanks so much everyone!

And, for the record, the castle *IS* awesome...but the Blizzard was almost better.

Crimogenic said...

Hmm, I like the idea of changing the scenery while reading your own work. Definitely something to think about when I'm done with the first draft of my novel (before I start to edit).

nomadshan said...

Heeeeeyyyyy, great idea to change location. I've followed the "print your manuscript because it'll look different" advice, but changing where I read it? Good tip!

Heather Zundel said...

Any adventure that ends in ice cream is worthwhile to me! And congratulations Beth. I bet that was an experience.