Monday, September 19, 2011

Onward, upward, jazz

This morning I wrote, and it felt pretty great. Usually, I don't make such a judgment until after I've gone back and  looked over whatever it was a second time, but it felt good to be back into the swing of things. I don't really have an idea of how much I plan on writing per week; honestly, it felt a lot like I was just doing it because I was getting more and more afraid that it was getting away from me. Likely, I'll spend this week making plans about at what speed to execute the outline I'm scribbling and scratching through.

I've also signed the next contract for the next book, which requires me to fill out an author information page. Or, to decide on excerpts, blurbs and begin brainstorming on what I'd like the cover to look like. I'm not sure if they changed the form since last time, or if I just didn't see it, but this time around there was even a space for professional blurbs, which are those really impressive-sounding quotes that are on the back of books at the store. "This book will change your life," and "This author is at the top of her/his game," and the like. I remember thinking back, years ago, about how nice it would be if that happened to me.

So there I was, staring at the blank space, thinking about what 1-2 sentence blurbs I had from "authors of the same genre field," and then I struck upon a novel idea: ask. I had, after all, over the last couple years met a handful of authors, some of whom even wrote things similar to my own. I sent out a couple queries, figuring the worst they could say was no, and ended up with some very nice things that ought to occur on my very next back cover. I might have even blushed a little.

Picking the excerpt went much less smoothly. In fact, I'm still working on it. With the last book it was easier because I took deliberate steps in the writing to tell the reader what the book was and what it wasn't, so the excerpt was an opportunity to tell potential buyers what the book was and what it wasn't. The novel is paranormal, and I wanted to be specific about tone and depth. In that same way, the second book is much less of an introduction to my interpretation of the genre, so I had to consider instead which elements would draw a reader to read (and hopefully buy) the novel. But it's been an interesting process; once again, I've learned a lot.

But to offset all this, I've recently had some difficulties over another manuscript. The situation has led me to wonder at the conundrum creative enterprise is always in, which is that editing types will criticize and discriminate based on things that have been done, yet will simultaneously demand that the efforts of the creative be new and different. It seems to me that these two things are mutually exclusive. That is to say if you want new and different, then you have to accept the new and different and judge it on its own merits, not the merits of things that have already been done and re-done to the point of being hackneyed. Or maybe that's what the sweet spot is: just far enough outside the lines to seem innovative but close enough to the center to be recognizable and appreciated.

But I won't digress, because I've started writing again. I'm moving forward.

No comments:

Post a Comment