Monday, September 26, 2011

It's Harder to Edit Real Life

By the time I turn in a manuscript for publication, I’ve done at least ten drafts. A few of them have been read by siblings, close friends, and my agent. I just polish and polish until I can’t take it anymore. My goal – to make the book as good as I can.

Last Sunday I appeared on Press:Here, a Silicon Valley Meet-the-Press that runs on the NBC affiliate here in the Bay Area and on cable in a bunch of other markets. Scott McGrew, the quick-witted and business-savvy host, reminded me just before the cameras started rolling that the show is taped in one run-through. And of course that was the problem. I couldn’t rephrase my answers or sit up straighter on the second take. Watching the video, I’m struck by a sense of esprit d’escalier – a French phrase for coming up with inspiration when it's too late to use it. The interview was real life where’s there’s no editing – where you’re stuck with what you’ve said, what you’ve done, and what you look like. Yuck. Not like writing fiction at all. When novel-writing I have control. Everything works just like I want it to. Not necessarily smoothly – where would the conflict be if it did? – but after ten drafts, the action, what the characters say, even the weather are all just what I want.

Anyway, here’s the eight minutes on Press:Here I spent talking about the ebook revolution, my novel Drop By Drop, and my checkered past – unedited.




12 comments:

Robin Allen said...

You sound polished and professional, Keith. Congrats on this great press!

And only 10 drafts of a book? Wow. I bet I went through the first draft of my first book about 50 times.

Keith Raffel said...

Robin, 50 drafts? Something for me to shoot for.

Lois Winston said...

Keith, so glad you posted this since I missed it the first time. What a great interview! You came across as someone who really knows how to handle a TV interview. Bravo!

Vicki Doudera said...

I agree -- terrific. Do those guys interview women? I'm thinking it would be tough to be female and take them on, but if they asked, hey, I'd give it a shot.

Alan Orloff said...

Keith, you're a natural in front of the camera--well done! Maybe you can be an actor in your next career.

Jeanine Cronin said...

Wonderful interview. So much fun to see you in action.

Keith Raffel said...

Lois,Vicki,Alan and Jeanine, your posts may be fiction but I like them nonetheless. Vicki, the show focuses on high tech. Women are welcome. In addition, last time I was on the show, both the reporters were women from BBC and NPR.

Jess Lourey said...

Keith, I think you should change your name to "IKEA" and really boost your sales.

You come across as brilliant, witty, warm, and whiskey-voiced in this interview, just like in real life. Cheers!

Darrell James said...

"I wish I'd said that!" Great interview, Keith!

Keith Raffel said...

Jess, whiskey-voiced? I drink green tea and beer -- but not at the same time. Darrell, high praise from a master.

Deborah Sharp said...

Heya ... I thought you sounded great, unedited. You hit the high points, and came across very natural and sincere. You know what they say in tv: Once you can fake sincerity, you've got it made! ;-)

Keith Raffel said...

Deb, anything I did right I must have learned from you. Thanks.