Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Reading over my blog post last night, it's clear I was feeling a little gushy.  That's not surprising, really; I was also blowing off one of Stephen King's cardinal rules by writing while a great movie was playing in the background: The Notebook.  It's one of those feel-good, bittersweet stories that take me once again to half wanting to go back to Schenectady and complain that they give the best ideas to other people.  This one was Nicholas Sparks's first published novel, and got him a $1 million advance.  Nice chunk of change...and that's not even including the movie pay.  Give me that much money, and I'd retire to a warm beach with my family, letting the waves lap my feet every morning...till my alarm goes off the next day, of course, and I wake up from the dream and go back to writing. 

It's funny, in'nit, how it gets in your blood, though I suspect I've run that line completely ragged.  I heard the other day that JK Rowling is going to be writing another book.  She has a billion dollars now.  One hopes she has a good enough financial advisor that she's been able to buy a nice country estate, a bungalow down in Tahiti for the winters, a boat or two to get there, and...well, what else would you buy with a billion dollars?  She certainly has enough to live comfortably on, so why write another? 

Stupid question, that.  There's still stories to be told.  We gentle readers still need to know the story behind Harry's parents and their battles with evil (and Snapes), and a story about Harry and his wife's (not gonna say who Harry ended up with, in case there's any muggles here) kids would be peachy. 

So in any event...before I so rudely interrupted myself...last night I was feeling sentimental and posted my prologue.  As I said then, this short section of the book has been gone over, and gone over, and gone over, both by my wife and by me, and I've come to really like it.  Till, that is, I posted it last night.  As I re-read my post, I couldn't help but get to the second paragraph and say to myself, "Oh, look, it still sucks." 

Granted, "sucks" is a bit strong. I realized in looking at it, though, that I went into describing Matt.  At that point, nobody really cares what he looks like, much less what his job is.  Yes, I had made him a college dean, because I'm a college dean and it's what I know.  But it's irrelevant to getting the story kicked off, and when I read a prologue that's all I'm looking for it to do...get the story kicked off, get me drawn in. 

"The tall, muscular, red-headed college dean walked over from where he had been eyeing a portrait.  'Ah, yes.  Venus Kallipygos is a funny one.  I agree'"

"Her husband walked over from where he had been eyeing a portrait.  Matt, a tall redhead, answered, 'Ah, yes.  Venus Kallipygos is a funny one, I agree.'"

So...unsucking a book is definitely an iterative process.  It's clearly dangerous to declare it completely done, because as soon as you do and post it to a blog, a big red "You suck" sign will flash in front of you.  Not that that's a bad thing, honestly...I'd much rather it flash in front of me now while I'm trying to fix it than later when I'm trying to sell it. 

I could pay a lot of bills with a million dollars.  I'm just sayin'. 

Word count: 71,500 (ish)

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