Friday, March 23, 2012

I was trying to daydream, but my mind kept wandering

Twitter tells me I haven't been by in a while to post about what I'm doing. I guess I've also been somewhat neglecting this particular outlet as well. I have no excuses or reasons. But the words are coming. Blogging is like riding a bike I don't want to be seen on. It's got tassels and a basket; I'm not precisely in sync with what it advertises.

Writing didn't happen last weekend, but oh the editing. The final proofing had to be done on the April release. Unlike last year, I actually had work to do, dialog to fix, mistakes to root out. I admitted a while back that last year I hardly even looked through the final proof. I thought to myself, "I've looked at this, what, fives times? Six? I'm sure by now it's fine." That wasn't the case, as I found out. Every time someone found a mistake, it seemed like I had to hear about it. Needless to say, I was motivated to prevent that from happening this time around.

Consequently, I spent the entire weekend combing through the entire book. I found mistakes, the kind that I would've found had I looked last year, the kind that can be found in a lot of print books at all levels of publication. I discovered that the difference, in a lot of cases and categories, is diligence. The obvious question is "how hard are you willing to work for what you want?" I haven't come up with a precise answer as yet, but I know I at least want to work hard enough that I have fewer regrets.

This week two different people compared me to two different authors. Well, the first person said that I reminded her of Steven Wright, and the second person said my writing is reminiscent of Glen Cook. Somehow, I feel like that leaves me as the artistic equivalent of the crack between couch cushions. No one hardly ever investigates, but those that do are always interestingly surprised at what they find.

In my reply to Twitter:

Mia culpa. Took some weeks off actually doing things, instead of writing about doing things. Be back soon… or maybe not. Don’t wait up...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Step-mother to success

At about six o'clock this morning I realized I made a glaring error in the plot-logic of one of my novels. It's not the first time, I'm sure, but this is certainly the most pronounced one that I can think of. It's also proof that even reading a previous book before writing its sequel is not a fail safe against such mistakes. I'm at a loss though for how to document it. The writing continues, but things are turning back around on themselves. Like the first whiff of decay from a spoiling bottle of milk, for the first time in a long time I can sense the expiration date of something I'm writing.

I think the pace is to blame. One chapter a week has been the slowest I've written in years, and slow progress can be as deadly as no progress for a creative project. It stretches things out uncomfortably, and the more time is spent on it, the more other things "come up" and the more unrelated ideas begin to develop "on the back burner," the more "opportunities" to do other things arise. A lot of authors struggle with this same concept, writing along happily and then they hit a speed bump generated by life: holidays, vacation, other work, family. And with each one it makes it harder and harder to get back up to pace. I have several friends that come back seasonally to things they've been writing, and still other friends that never go back. I've got to figure out how to avoid that. Even after I finish this book, and I will, I still have to go back through all three and sort out problems caused by the initial drafting, as well as the kinds of things I discovered in a dream this morning.

So, downs and ups, ups and downs. In other news, the blog I wrote up for that guest appearance finally went live. I told people how bad the pictures were that I took, but that at least they were my bad pictures. Honestly, they came out better than I imagined, surrounded by a legitimate looking website and words. Also, so far as I'm aware, the April release is still a go. A friend gave me some good advice after asking me a good question. What's your strategy, she said. I didn't even know what she was talking about, because she was talking about marketing. The advice she gave me was to contact everyone who had reviewed the book previously. So far as I'm aware, reviewers have mountains of books they have to churn through on a regular basis, so it would be unlikely that they'd remember my work from last year, however if anyone's going to have that much more incentive to read the second book of a series, it would be the people who read the first (most of them, anyway). It wasn't the first time I had felt stupid that day, nor would it be the last.

Related to that, I cannot for the life of me figure out how to change my picture on my facebook author page. Falling behind the technology curve is a lot like falling behind a heavy dresser in an unused, upstairs room. But I'm determined to claw myself up and out. I think I'd also like to come up with some artwork (read: hire someone to make) to represent the entire series of books, so I can use that as my page photo (until the next series is published, at least). That should be a fun project, sort of like coming up with one word to describe many books (or a thousand, since it will be visual).

So the through line is that I've fallen behind a bit, however I haven't stopped running. Far from the finish line, far from it.