Final chapters are being edited. Final nerves are being frayed. Final decisions—yet to be made.
Larry sent me an e-mail with his changes for chapters 29 through the end of our book, and this is one of the changes he suggested:
As text currently appears in our story:
She hit him below the knees, but it was like hitting a tree. He shook a leg loose, kicked her over onto her back, and fired his weapon.
As he wants it:
Suddenly there was a faraway rumbling that almost sounded like underground gun shots. “What the…” Dante instinctively turned to the direction of the sound. Kelly lunged for his legs. She hit him below the knees, but it was like hitting a tree. He shook a leg loose, kicked her over onto her back, and fired his weapon.
This prompted an e-mail discussion.
ME: Kelly was going to do this anyway. The shots wouldn’t trigger her into action even if she recognized the muffled sounds as gunshots. I know you’re not satisfied with it, and I have disagreed with this change all three times you’ve tried to make it. Since you refuse to give up and I refuse to give in, I’ll look and see if the group bought it (because you know they don’t buy anything). They can be our tie breaker. That’s what they’re for.
LARRY: Dante might recognize them as gun shots which would distract him, giving Kelly a better chance to catch him off guard. I think someone would hear something and that would be worth including. Why is it important to you that they DON'T hear the shots? I think of this as a minor change and a logical one.
ME: I don’t think it’s important that they don’t hear the shots, what I think is important is that it’s at least 100 yards from the house AND underground, why WOULD they hear them? It seems unrealistic to me rather than logical.
Although I think I’ve figured out a way to satisfy us both in this particular case, there are other changes in what he sent that will warrant additional, perhaps lively, discussion.
Some chapters are easier than others. The epilogue for instance—it’s clean and very easily edited. Larry made only a few suggestions.
This is not to say that Larry is being difficult. He’s including in the changes suggestions from the group as well as his own. So sometimes it comes down to him and me—if the group didn’t have an opinion one way or the other, then we have to hash out what is best for the story.
The benefit of having a partner far outweighs working alone. We’ve turned out a much stronger piece of work because of our creative differences, not in spite of them. Those differences have led to better product because we have to stop, address, and convince each other of what we’ve done and why it’s important.
I’ll be working on the chapters he sent in the next few days, and our story will turn out stronger for the additional torment. I’ll just have to remember to be reasonable, and he’ll just have to remember to give in.