Editing

I love to write I love the process of putting my thoughts and ideas onto paper. I love playing with ideas, playing with characters, playing the game of what if and everything that is entailed in the whole process of writing. There are no bones about it, I get joy from writing and I want to share that joy with others. That is all there is to it. This has been me since I was a little girl. I have always had the dream of publishing, but there is one major road block that I loath and I try to avoid though it is impossible to avoid. What is this beast? Editing of course. This is my Achilles heel. Editing.

I hate editing for many reasons, I hate the nitty-gritty. I hate having to look at those minor details, should a comma go there? Or would it be better to put a semi-colon? Maybe it would be better to put that one sentence into two. I hate doing it. I of course love having the finished product and seeing my work stronger than it was before but I hate looking at the little details, I am a big picture sort of girl to be honest. I like to tell the story and let it stand, but it can’t stand and can’t stand as strong if I don’t edit.

Thus, I find myself kicking and screaming when I sit at my computer to work. I barter with myself. What if I work on this second story instead that is work that is progress toward the ultimate goal! Yet I am faced with the brutal reality that I can only fool myself for so long I can have 50 novels written (which I don’t) and still not have anything to speak for it but basic manuscripts unless I edit. So I have been pushing myself, and editing. I forced myself to look at the returned chapter from a friend who volunteered to edit things further and I got it completed. Success! Then came chapter two.

Now chapter 1 has been a long work in progress I would look at it for 15 minutes and fix a few things and delete the comments once the issue was resolved and then I would quit. Then I would come back a week later and spend another 20 minutes. This was a long drawn out process and thus this last hour I spend on it there maybe 5 comments to address and re-work things. With that success I rushed to chapter 2 and was stopped dead in my tracks. 83 comments. Talk about a blow.

Now I will say of those 83 comments some of them were compliments liking the thought process of my character or agreeing how another character is a bit like her name sake. So it wasn’t all bad but still seeing all that work is overwhelming and depressing. I read the comments and had to walk away. Nothing of the fault of my editor, it just was too much for me at the time. So this week those 83 comments have been looming over my head and I’ve been trying to ignore them. I know it isn’t true, and I know that the comments is to help me improve and that is what I want to do but at the same time in my twisted little mind I question my skills as a writer. I know it isn’t true, I know I can write but the question still surfaces and it is a right pain.

Editing sucks. That is all there is to it. I hate editing, I hate the minor details even though they are important and I hate how they point out my flaws. I know I’m not perfect but I don’t like looking at the imperfections under a microscope. Yet it must be done and while I have been ignoring it all week with the excuse of being tired, of writing my other novel I am going to have to commit to editing, as I think that is the only way to get through this. So, starting now I am going to commit to editing for thirty minutes minimum a week. As I can easily go weeks without editing because I loath it. As the saying goes one had to regularly practice writing, maybe the same is true with editing, you have to be regularly practiced in it. What do you think? Should writers not only regularly practice writing but also practice editing?

What Sells

So, it was with much pain an agony I came to discover the cold hard horrifying truth that there is a 4th book for the 50 Shades of Gray Series. (As if the first one wasn’t 1 too many.) This new book that was released on Thursday, is told from the perspective of Christian Gray. And based on reviews I’ve seen it is sick and twisted and a lot darker than the first books. (Why does this surprise anyone?) Anyway hearing and seeing this sickening truth there are so many issues that I take up with this.

This book was originally fanfiction. – Now there is nothing wrong with fanfic – I got my start in fanfiction I love it as it is a great playground to grow and develop and generally get critiqued in a safe environment (if you find a good community.)

This is not only fanfiction, it is fanfiction based off of Twilight. – I admit I read the book, I read them in college when I wanted something mindless to read and they were good for that but they are far from great literature. I am the person who coined the phrase “Stephanie Meyers is my hero if she can publish, I know I can!”

Quote

There is a huge difference between 50 Shades of Gray and what happens in the book! I mean HUGE! (Yes it warrants shouting and that much emphasis!) Don’t believe me There are some awesome articles from experienced people outlining the difference.

50 Shades of Abuse

Funny interesting tidbit – Stephanie Meyers was going to do the Twilight Series from the perspective of Edward. She didn’t however simply because it was leaked and she was too emotionally distraught to write any more of it.

This isn’t an issue but the one good thing I can say is this book does finally show the truth on some levels of how sick and messed up and twisted things are and how this is not a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, it is too late as the damage has already been done in the first books where people were too blind to see the truth.

So yes I’m a little upset! Why do you ask? Because it perpetuate a very sick and twisted idea of a relationship and it is an affront to self respecting females. Those are my main beefs with the book but there is one other beef which goes beyond the book that makes me irate. Smut sells. I am not saying there is anything wrong with reading smut. I have not issues or judgments against you if you like to read smut on occasion or often but honestly it is far easier in some respects to write and be published with smut than it is with any other genera. This drives me nuts because if I actually wrote smut I’d have an easier time getting a book out there once I’m ready for publication, but instead I write about something different and it won’t be as easy to garner notice and attention.

Of course, this isn’t all about me, it is also infuriating when other authors who produce something good and meaningful do not get the notice and attention they deserve for their works because it isn’t smut or focused on a romance. Romance sells I get it, but why does it have to be the unending focus and what actually propels a book forward in the eyes of a reader. Is there any hope for those of us who don’t write romance or have it as a very minimal aspect in our story? This goes for those published and yet to be published.

Indie/Self Publication

Earlier this week I stumbled upon a blog about Indie publishing, and it got me to start re-thinking my publishing goals all over again. I have debated Indie and self publishing versus traditional publication many times over. As I debated I ended up convincing myself that traditional publication is the way I wanted to go. My reasons for this decision is because while the stigma against self publication is dropping there is still a lot of crap out there and most anyone can publish a book these days, and it doesn’t mean it is a good book. Truth be told I have read a handful of self published books and among them I have only found one that was truly good. (This is not encouraging for the idea of self publication!) Then the final thing that cause me to determine that I wanted to go with traditional publication is the fact that since I was a little girl I have wanted to be able to walk into a book store and see my name on the spine of a book surrounded by the books of others who have made it. This is the dream – for a long time and in a lot of ways it still is.

However, I am forced to reconsider things. In the blog I read about Indie and traditional publishing, it makes the point that with traditional publication, if you actually finally make it and you get a publisher to agree to put your book out there on the shelves and have it be in print, it may not last. Most books only get a shelf life of 6 months to make it or break it. If the book doesn’t make it, the book is placed out of print never to see the light of day ever again. What makes it even worse is once this decision is made there is no hope for your book ever again really. Why? Because the rights of the book have been sold so you can’t work to salvage it and bring it back to life. This is heart breaking because in a lot of ways I feel like the books I write are my children after a fashion and to leave it to flounder and lay forgotten is not something I’m sure I can handle. I desire and deserve the right to call the end when it comes to my work, or to keep fighting for it to have life. Not to mention, 6 months is not a lot of time at all. I know that is half a year but so much and so little can happen in that amount of time.

As I made my disturbing discoveries I looked at what it would take to self publish, and what it entails. I know that traditional and self publication, both require that I promote and market myself and my book. The major difference is in some ways the lack of help in Indie publishing, but to be honest the best advocate for your own book is you. In addition to marketing, I was reminded that self publication is a lot like an entrepreneurship. A person starting a small business or starting a publication of their own book aren’t that different. You have to find your market, you have to connect with it, you have to know when and where to put the word out about your publication it is all a balance a thing of planning and preparing. It takes a lot of work and it is something that not all writers have the gumption for. There is of course nothing wrong with not wanting to market things because marketing is a very social thing and is just as hard as the hard work of writing and editing your book.

For me, I find that I have the gumption to market. I am a unique bird when it comes to writers – while most people find writing to be a solitary and solo profession I turn it into a social experience and am an extroverted social bug. So marketing is right up my ally. In conjunction with being okay connecting with and talking to people to market my book, I have the training to be an entrepreneur, I know the ins and outs to starting a business and marketing things – this gives me an edge. Of course being able to market things well does not grantee results or that I have a good book. There are many pit falls to self publication such as an editor and having a professional look. Fortunately, I have been so blessed to have a professional editor in my family who happily provides their editing services to me for free. The one thing I’m lacking is a good professional looking cover. Of course I have a good deal more editing to do I have a friend who is giving my novel a read through and is offering suggestions to give my book a better presence. I have the first few chapters and am taking the time to work through those. I am hoping that this multi-year project will be reaching a head here soon and I’ll have something to speak for in the near future!

Sanity Check

Over the past few days I have paused to think about my writing and my mental standing. I think about the stories I write, the kinds of stories I write, and the types of characters that I have gallivanting through my mind, that I question myself and my mentality. This is a question I feel that other authors, aside from me has to ask from time to time. With all the weird stories and ideas going on in my head there are times where I at least have to stop, pause and ask the important question of “Am I crazy?”

In some ways, I feel that if I am taking the time to stop and ask that question I am not actually full on loony bin crazy, though that doesn’t eliminate that I am at least a little crazy. I think every author in some way or another is different from the every day person in many ways ranging from the dead obvious to the subtle. I know at the very least that there is a difference between talking to a fellow writer than talking to what I will call a normal person. (Please note, I find nothing wrong with being a writer or non-writer, I am just using the term ‘normal’ for an ease of reference and nothing more. )

Of course, I am not saying that this is relevant to every writer because some writers are more normal than others, but I know from my limited experience that I am not alone in this. As a writer my characters take on a life of their own, though I know they are my creation and from my own mind, they become almost as real as the very people who I live and work with on a daily basis. This causes some normal people to question and I have had a normal person ask me who Brandon is and I have to tell them that he is my telepathic empath from one of my stories. To which I get a very wary look because they thought I was talking about a real person or a real event.

Similar looks and reactions happen when I remark about when a character tells me something. I have been asked do the ‘voices’ tell me to do things. I can say with confidents the only things the ‘voices’ tell me to do is write a story and write certain things happening in the story. For a normal person I know this can sound crazy but I know that other writers I communicate with have said that their characters told them to write this or refused to do as was planned, such as teaming up. My own characters have told me things that have surprised me such as when I knew a character is to be upset about loosing a competition he is in. To then sit down to write more about it for me to realize that he is not just upset but distraught.

In conjunction with my characters talking and having a visage of being real to me, I question my sanity further because of the thoughts and plans I have made and given things for the sake of story so to speak. I have plotted sickness, disease, gruesome deaths and murder. There are times that the ideas are just twisted enough that it scares even me at times and I question my sanity. I would never in a million years dream of actually acting about these thoughts and ideas but I will all the same sit there and consider how easy or difficult it would be to accomplish certain terrible things. At the same time however this is part of what makes a story tick, a lot of stories will not survive without a devious villain one who is so terrible and does things that grips you as a reader and helps to spur your hero into action, one that gives your hero a challenge and helps to make the story all that more gripping.

In writing this blog I realize that while I question myself for coming up with evil horrible things for my characters to do or happen for the sake of story, I may not be that bad off because I know I’ve never judged my favorite authors too much for having a character who is so vile and despicable that I love to hate them and their deeds make my stomach turn. I don’t question the author I question the character in the story, so maybe, just maybe I might be okay and I’m not as crazy as I seem to my self to be. Isn’t the adage anyway that if you pause long enough to question yourself, you just might be okay?