Thursday, 19 January 2012

Going to the Mattresses!

Meaning: Prepare for a battle or adopt a warlike stance.
In times of war or siege, Italian families would vacate their homes and rent apartments in safer areas. In order to protect themselves they would hire soldiers to sleep on the floor in shifts.
The phrase wasn't well known outside of the USA and Italy prior to the Godfather movies. It was used there, and later in The Sopranos television series, to mean “preparing for battle”.
Meaning for Authors: Prepare to revise an entire manuscript.
Oh yeah, I’ve been battling words and characters since I signed my contract with Musa Publishing last September. I went to the mattresses, so to speak, killed those darlings I held dear in my heart, stomped and crushed adverbs and weak words that filled up white space. Pummeled and pounded point of views, until only one character’s voice was left standing. Was there blood on my hands? Hell, yes! Did I feel like a murderer? Nope. After the smoke cleared and my fingers unfurled, I stepped back and looked at my manuscript with fresh eyes. Then, I smiled.
Going to the mattresses, for me as an author, was probably the best thing I could have done for my book. And my readers. I was too heavily invested in all five of my young characters and let them all have a say. In doing so, although my idea was good, the story was lackluster and needed a dust and clean. By giving Amanda Sault the nod, I gave my book a new life.
In my next THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS book, Jordan Jensen is tagged for the point of view. And trust me this fourteen-year-old has plenty to say.


  1. Hi Sharon, congratulations on achieving your cull! Someone once said that 'writing was rewriting' and I think he or she was correct. My guiding principle is that the first version is for me and the subsequent versions are for the reader. Once I have my copy, in all its profane glory, the gloves are off and it's a case of 'the last characters standing win the game'.

    1. Honestly, Derek, it was brutal! But a necessity. I'm awaiting the second round of edits with tongue in cheek and a grin. You should see how I look now! Thanks for your comment!

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