A watershed moment for SWEET SALT AIR

I do try to blog several times a week, but it’s been ten days since my last post, and you loyal readers have Sweet Salt Air to blame.  I’ve reached a critical point in the book – three hundred pages done, with the final climactic hundred ready to go.  But … but … but …

Several sticking points.  First, there’s a medical angle to this story, and though I’ve been working with a doctor in the Midwest since last summer, it’s suddenly showtime.  That means re-reading everything he sent, making (another) list of questions for him, and, most importantly, firming up my timeline.

Second, I have seven items on my Sweet Salt Air edit list.  I’m talking about threads that I may have started, dropped, and now need to either revive or delete – or threads that aren’t yet in the book at all, but that I feel will add flavor.  When to do this editing?  My initial thought was to finish the book, then go back.  Then I rethought.  Maybe it’s the OCD in me.  I want things to be neat and clean before I tackle that final leg of the book.

So I’m re-reading.  Again.  I have red-line edits and post-its all over the manuscript, and am making separate lists of where each thread appears and what it says.  In a case or two, I’m catching repetition and tweaking timing.

Some of those threads?  Bear, for one.  He’s the dog.  Knitting for another.  Just bits here and there for anyone who’s ever struggled with cables.  Sex, for a third.  Think of long nylon shorts hanging at just the right place on a pair of leanly masculine hips.  And chewy chocolate almond candies, homemade and individually wrapped, for a fourth.

Focus.  That’s been my mantra this week.  I’m focusing on the whole book, not just one scene.  And when it’s done?  When I have a clean hard copy of these three hundred pages, I’ll re-read yet again, this time straight through as you all will do.  Then I’ll move on.

I’m often asked if writing a novel is linear.  For me with this book, it is not.  I’ve gone back and forth, cutting, pasting, rewriting – the good news being that I do love the end product.  The bad news, of course, is not blogging.

Actually, though, there’s another reason for that.  Spring.  The weather’s been gorgeous here, meaning that the time I might spend blogging, I’m outdoors.  Warm sun, dry air, not-quite-pollen-time here in Boston – what could be better?

Of course, I crowed about this to my main medical resource for Sweet Salt Air this week.  He wrote back to say that it was cold and rainy where he was.  Why do I fear that’s headed our way?  Maybe because it’s still only March, when the temp should be 40, not 70, and because April is rain-rain-go-away month.

What’s it like where you are?

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  1. melissa on March 24, 2012 at 4:28 am

    Oh I can’t wait for this book!!! I love the glimpses you give us into the writing process — it’s such a lot of work, it makes me doubly grateful when I finally get the finished masterpiece in my paws! 🙂
    As for the weather, it’s early autumn here, so the leaves are turning a stunning colour. It’s still fairly warm and lovely, but the nights are definitely getting longer!

  2. Eileen Burkhardt on March 24, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Barbara, I’m on Long Island and the weather here is about the same, foggy and balmy all week, with the weekend expected to be cool and damp – good for the flowers though and the reservoirs! As a project manager by trade, I’ve always assumed that books were planned out ‘top down’ – that is the main plot outlined, the way the tale will be told (flashback or chronological or a mix of the two) and divided into chapters – you know, this happens here, and that happens there in a general way, then working out who the supporting cast will be and what they are like – obviously I’m a bit naive here as all my writing is technical writing.

    How much preplanning goes into writing a book like “Flirting with Pete’?

    I do reread my books over and over again, in addition to my Barbara Delinsky collection, I also have Agatha Christies, Dorothy Sayers, Tom Clancy, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Steve Berry, Jayne Ann Krentz and JD Robb that I read over and over again.

    • Barbara Delinsky on March 24, 2012 at 7:10 am

      “Flirting With Pete” was entirely different, Eileen. I wrote Jenny’s story seven years before the rest, intending it as a free-standing novella. My agent and publisher felt it might be too dark and was better saved for a later time. I went with my gut when the time seemed right and enveloped it in a larger story involving Casey. Technical writing vs. fiction writing, novella vs. novel — each so different!

      • Eileen Burkhardt on March 24, 2012 at 1:46 pm

        ‘Flirting with Pete’ was dark, but I think it was a book that had to be written and read for people to really understand.

  3. Karen on March 24, 2012 at 7:46 am

    It is in the 80’s during the day and 60’s at night here in central Florida. We are wishing for rain…everything is so dry and the pollen count is very, very high. Lots of folks suffering with allergies. Our rainy season should be starting soon, we hope!

  4. Karen L. on March 24, 2012 at 12:51 pm

    Hello Barbara …. Great to “hear” from you! I am SO looking forward to your newest book, “Sweet Salt Air”. I’m sure you’ll finish it and we’ll all enjoy it, since you’re such a great author. I have much faith in you.

    As a quilter and a knitter, I get into “slumps” with projects so I have an idea it feels for an author to be temporarily stumped.

    Our weather here in lower MI was unseasonably warm this week. (into the 80s on four days! What a bonus! Hubby even mowed the lawn!! Today (Sat) it is somewhat cooler and a bit gloomy but who’s complaining?

  5. Julie Kibler on March 29, 2012 at 9:25 am

    If only writing a book were the same process every time. But then they’d probably be boring and we writers would probably move on to more exciting careers. 🙂 Every time I read the title Sweet Salt Air, I get hungry for saltwater taffy, by the way!

  6. Peggy on April 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Can’t wait for your new book to come out!

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