Something new for the new year

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Happy new year!

Holy moly, I have absolutely sucked at blogging this year. This might be my second or third post? I don’t even know and I’m way too lazy to even bother checking. Anyhow, for the past few new years’ days, I’ve taken a few minutes to ‘burn’ a work that seemed to have died the previous year. I’m not doing that this year. In part because I haven’t actually finished anything new and in part because The Dark Queen of Darkness didn’t die this year. Last year at this time, I was pretty sure that’s what was going to happen. My wife, however, convinced me to just get off my lazy ass and just self-publish the damn thing.

I made the decision to go forward with Self-Publishing back in August as a 40th birthday gift. While this is proving to be a little bit on the expensive side, it’s still cheaper than trading in my car for a faster model or other similarly foolish mid-life crisis activity.

The status so far is that developmental edits are back from the editor (The extraordinary Jettimus Maximus) and I’m working through them. The suggestions she’s sending along are thoughtful, helpful, and very much in-line with my vision for this story. As I write this, I’ve worked through roughly the first hundred or so pages of the book a couple of times. What I’ve got revised so far still needs a lot of work, but I’m liking the changes so far. The narrative does feel tighter.

This is my first time working with an editor for creative work. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the developmental edit. What struck me about it so far is that it isn’t anything like a critique. We’ve all done those and they definitely serve a purpose, but that’s not what this is about. It’s structural and focuses on things like themes and character development, plot and pacing. To be honest, it covers the ground that a typical critique or beta-read is going to miss. Those often recommend suggestions to tighten up your writing or will help you find issues, but won’t necessarily provide you with concrete strategies for correcting the issue or finding larger problems that aren’t obvious.

Sometime in the past, I wish I could recall when or the actual context, I read a blog post posing the question: Do I need a developmental editor? I don’t recall the conclusion, but it seems like it ran something like: It’s a nice to have, not an essential. At this point, I think that my conclusion is that this is an essential cost. No, many of us can’t afford to hire someone. It’s not free, nor should it be, but there are editors out there who will do this for a reasonable price. What’s more, if you intend to sell your book and it’s been well polished, you’re going to sell more copies, thus the cost of editing should pay for itself.

If you’re considering a developmental edit, and you should be, but don’t know who to go to, I would recommend Jette.

In any case, I’ve got a tremendous amount of work still to go on this book, maybe even more than it took to write to begin with, but I’m now convinced that it’ll be money well spent and readers will find this story a page-turner with endearing characters and at least a few laugh-out-loud moments.

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Agents and Indies and Self-publishing oh-my!

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As I patiently move through line edits and more rounds of read-throughs of Wine Bottles and Broomsticks and begin seriously plotting the second book in the Rick Basket series, rather a lot of my mental energy is being wasted on the question ‘what comes next?’ I mean, after final revisions and copy-editing and things. I’ve thought I’d been to this point before, but not really. This time though, I really am. If all goes well I’ll be sitting with a full draft in a few weeks.

Obviously, I really want to get this thing published, you know, like a regular book – but HOW?

It seems like every writer out there has a completely different and thoroughly justifiable position on this.

The most promising initial path I’ve got for this project and where I want to take it is to try and connect with an agent. Of course, I’m completely unknown, don’t have any proven track record of selling books or meeting deadlines. Not only that, I’ve got to find a person I can trust and works in good faith and also won’t deadbeat me. It’s scary and, I suspect, very hard.

Another path, the sort of knee-jerk path, it seems, is to just start firing the manuscript off to various publishing houses. I have serious doubts I’d even manage to get read, let alone get signed. To make it worse, if I do manage to get a contract, I’m likely as not to screw it up and kill the project before it really gets off the ground. It’s my biggest fear in taking the next step here, actually. I like writing these characters and I want to keep doing that. It would really suck for me if I got derailed because of my own stupidity.

The last approach is self-publishing – a highly popular and sometimes successful way to go. The problem is that I don’t have much time and I certainly don’t have a lot of cash, so while I could self-publish, the amount of advertising I could do is pretty minimal. This, actually, doesn’t help either. It’ll be out there, sure, but I won’t be able to tell people who actually want to hear it’s out there that it is. Plus, and this is an ego thing, I won’t be able to walk into Barnes and Noble or the local indie store and find it on the shelf.

So, here I sit, heartburn chewing up my insides staring cross-eyed at a manuscript trying to viciously eliminate passive voice and unnecessary dialogue tags while stretching my plot-holes into compelling story that gets me over the 80K mark (77.6K at last count). Sigh – Any agents out there want to take a look? No? Well, had to ask.


photo credit: The Printing Press via photopin (license)

Progress Report – Wine Bottles & Broomsticks

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I haven’t made nearly as much progress as I’d have liked after the first full draft was completed. My goal was to have it revised by last week, but that just didn’t happen. Work, side projects and working-out have gotten in the way. This weekend wasn’t any different. Yesterday I spent two hours at the gym, then we did a family day – movies & dinner. After a gentle prod from the twitterverse, I got kicked into high gear again and sat down to continue revising. So far, I’ve written 3 new chapters and extended another one by about a thousand words. Today’s goal, after laundry, shopping, and cooking is to work those three chapters in and finish revising and first-round editing the final third of the book.

Considering that the last book I tried to write took about 10 years to finish and I haven’t even thought about hitting it again for revisions, this is excellent progress for me. For those interested, I am planning a second book and there is a lot of material in this one that will feed into the second. For the second, I’ve got a basic outline, a few scenes have been sketched and there’s a theme I’m working around. So, all-in-all, not much to show, yet, but I’m working on it.

When I get this one buttoned up for a 2nd full draft, you’ll hear me crowing all about it. So, back to it…