And the manuscript is back again. Five months after I received his comments on my first draft, and three months after I sent him my second draft, my editor at Riverhead has now sent me his comments for the third (and perhaps final?) draft.
They’re very good comments, once again. We’re now trying to figure out two things:
- How to make the tone consistent throughout the entire 100,000-word story. Right now, as my editor puts it, the book reads “overly serious in some passages, too informal in others.”
- How explicit to make the “moral” of each chapter. Not enough, and you sacrifice oomph and clarity. Too much, and you dumb down the story or make it corny and banal.
Both are points that all writers struggle with, I stipulate.
Number 1, in particular, is interesting: In my day job at The Economist, I write short articles in a single day at a time, and always in the same tone and voice. But my book was written over many, many days, and I felt different on each one (and was using my personal voice). Some days, I had my tongue in my cheek; others, I was doing deep thinking.
You see that on this blog, of course. Its tone has changed a lot over the 17 months or so that I’ve been writing it, and each post has its own mood. On a blog, that’s allowed, and even fun.