Don't you just love it when things come together? I know I do.
The encore of COMPLETE WORKS is chugging along nicely. Houses have been small, but enthusiastic. The actors are comfortable enough to improvise and play off of each other in ways that make the show sparkle each night and my backstage crew makes it all look easy. It's not, but they make you believe that it is.
The part of the show that never fails to bring down the house is the last four minutes or so when the actors finish HAMLET ("the rest is silence"), then do it again. Then faster! Then - backwards!! Oh, the effort and labor that went into nailing down those last few minutes, for not just the lines but also the blocking is run backwards, like a film - only it's live. And it's wonderful to see that hard, hard work rewarded. So the show finishes with the beginning ("Oh, that this too, too solid flesh would melt . . . "), which ties in with my next point.
Thank you and pass the chocolate, I finished the first edits on the manuscript today. With (yep, you guessed it) the introduction. Maybe you have to see everything before you can accurately point out the way in the intro. At least that's the way it seems to me.
This means the book is yet another step towards completion on my end. Once my editor-fiends (umm, I meant "friends." Yeah.) have finished their reviews of the text, there will be one more round of edits to cut our duplications that I missed the first time. This is an occupational hazard of writing so much - you don't write in order, so points get made and then re-made. There's no way I caught them all. But I don't want it to go out like that - it'll seem like I made my points with anvils: "Lookit, Chumley! She thinks Whedon is all about forming relationships with people who aren't like you are! She must think that - she says so over and over and over again! Geez, couldn't she have just said it twice and trusted us to figure it out from there?" So more edits.
If it's a performance, it's all in the rehearsals, folks. If it's a book, it's all in the re-writes, for hardly anything that's truly worthwhile sparkles the first go-round. Diamonds have to be cut and so do manuscripts. Then, and only then, do you get shine and fire.
And it really is all about having a good beginning!