Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Being continued

The insidious nature of distraction occurred to me the other day as possible excuses piled up. I have a box from a friend that I referred to as my "retirement," in that it contained a gaming system and a dozen different games. When I used to open the box and look inside, I could see a future where I sat next to a television and let my brain make dazzling chemicals as I exercised my fingers.

A week at my new place, I finally opened the box and made that possible future a reality. It was as pleasant as I imagined.

Then came the time when I would normally write. The coffee shop seemed unappealing, even the notion of writing itself was strange and foreign. I wanted to play.

I'm happy to say that I did play, but only after I worked. I triumphed over that urge, but in leaping that hurdle I could better examine its dangerous nature.

But while I was thinking about that I came across another new notion: talking shop. It's been more than a year (by a smidgen) since my first book came out, and during that time I've come to realize even published authors, among published authors, exist in a hierarchy. I saw a contest, in fact, that was for "new authors" except, to those judges, that meant authors with less than four books. This didn't jibe with my reaction to people's question "How long have you been writing," because when I thought about it, the answer that always came to mind was "as long as I can remember." Yet, I'm still new.

Anyway, as I was meeting more and more people, I finally got around to discussion of sales, and the numbers of such. I was encouraged by some authors' responses and discouraged by others. As I had long ago intuited, it all came down to networking, but it was nice to have my assumption realized. The gap between the actual skill level of stitching together sentences and sentiments was not so distant from writer to writer, but the margin of networking was huge. Networking determined net worth, to a certain extent. Still, even knowing now what I have to do does not necessarily guarantee that I'll do it. That's how much I dislike it. But, what else is a person to do when they are in disagreement with the universe, but change?

Yet what I sat down this morning to write about is my new understanding of the power of names. As I said, this past weekend I did write, and it went well, but what I was most pleased with was some real headway in conceptualizing how I would change my fantasy series, what words I would change and why, to create the effect I had envisioned for it from the beginning. Just like that, I became newly invigorated, and now can power through the last few chapters and even lay the groundwork for a continuation (somewhat complexly, I've set out to use my initial trilogy as an introduction to an even larger cosmology and my hope is that in depth discussion of one world will account for my glossing over others when I mention what they are, how they are, etc.).

So today sees me dancing the dance of change again.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bright side

I should be writing, which is not to say that I'm blaming the blog. I'm making excuses. Yesterday I moved and my muscles have stretched and torn in ways they haven't in some time. And while they're excited, I'm much less so. It was a new kind of sleep in an old bed. My fear that I would be unable to rest fully and normally, despite whatever fatigue, came true.

So now I'm doing the coffee shop thing, because of all the things I paid for and took care to reserve in advance, and pre-imagined, internet in my new place was not one of them. I won't say that this was completely accidental. Much like renting a place with stairs, I knew that making certain kinds of decisions would be more interesting, if not better, for me. Already I've been silently introduced to all sorts of interesting people dwelling in the palace of the dark bean (and I am not immune. I'm drinking crazy expensive orange juice).

The only plan I have at this point is to intend to plan. The outline is expanding again as I think forward, and while I wasn't able to finish the draft before Spring, or before I moved, I will finish it. I have the next novel in my published series already submitted, and a few soft agreements for promotional opportunities that may very well carry me on into summer. I also have made strides to sit down and take notes on the first sci-fi novel with  one of my readers before I start on the next one.

So yeah, plans.

The sun has risen now, turning that foggy kind of promise into full-fledged day. The people around me, chatting, musing, reading, sipping, jotting, coming, and going take it for granted. I figure that's about where I need to get back to with my regimen. Make it regular like the sun rising.

But something can be said, too, for the other major part of being a writer, which is reading. Not just words, but people, situations, and circumstances. It could be that writing is the evacuation of the vast stores of thought through the particular lens of the specific author, and if so, it only makes sense that every now and again such quantities must be invested in, rather than given out.

Hm, so does it matter if the excuses are good ones?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Foolishness

This morning I wrote, an event which by and large determines my reply to the question "how was your weekend" posed by my co-workers. I wrote, I will say, so it went alright.

And normally I don't tend to this site at the same time, or on the same day, or in the same mindset that I tend to whatever novel, but this weekend has been one of firsts, so why not keep the trend running?

The book comes out in six days, and I've had the final file in my inbox for over a week now. After the errata phase I was so worn out that I just wanted to distance myself, but curiosity, as always, reconstituted me. I was curious, you see, because the last time I had gone through the editing phase things were left out. And if you've been keeping up, you know that one of the main goals this time was to prevent that from happening again. So I doubled my effort, then I tripled it.

But you know what they say about it taking two to tango. And this reason, by the by, is why there are so many publishing houses. There are so many authors who felt like their weren't truly being heard by their editors, by their publishers that they struck out on their own. "This," they said, "is how it should be done." They were wrong, of course, because it's a trend that continues to this day. For me, I can say now, having looked at the file, that on one particular page, in one particular case, I did not make myself clear enough. The sentence in question (which I won't be specific about it; if you know my writing, it will smack you in the face) will be yet another cringing moment in my career, one I will hear about at length and never be able to explain away as it not being my fault.

But, I've decided not to be too upset about it. After all, I had to have written something that was so confusing that the only way the editor could understand it, to cause it to make sense to her, was to change it. Never mind that it changes the entire meaning of the entire passage. It's very possible that I could have done something other than try to force something which they weren't going to accept. My old boss would call this a "bought lesson," and as such I'll be paying for this for some time.

I wonder if something error-less will ever come out of me, or if everything I ever do will be less than it could be. On the one hand, I guess that's somewhat of a grim thought. On the other, it could be that perfection is simply the pursuit.