Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A bared soul

Didn't blog yesterday; was too focused on writing.  This is really an exciting time for me.  I've taken the first half of the story entirely through the rough draft and first revision stages, and now it's time to let it rest as Stephen King suggests in On Writing while I work on getting through the rough draft of the second half.  Once again, I'm creating a story as I go.  I know the final scene very, very well, having played it in my head over and over.  I know a few scenes along the way, too.  But the twists and turns are still to be determined, and that's part of the joy of it.

I was given to think that I was probably the only writer who eschews outlines.  I read one case, for example, that I've already mentioned in an earlier blog, of an author who outlines the book fully and then just goes through putting the connecting lines in.  It works well for him, but I don't think I can do that.  It's not like I'm creating the story as much as I'm discovering it along the way.  Turns out from my reading in The Making of a Bestseller that most of the authors they interviewed feel the same.  I guess I'm actually kind of normal in that regard, then. 

The other excitement, though, was that I finally felt comfortable enough with the manuscript to share it.  I wasn't kidding in earlier posts when I said that the first draft sucked.  It should, really.  When I sit down to discover the story as I do, sure, I'm worried about sentence structure and flow as well as not having too many of those little dot things...ellipses...in the same paragraph, a sin my first true writing teacher pointed out in my work a long, long time ago.  But that's OK...isn't it?  I mean...well, it's just...I like them. 

*evil grin*

As I was saying, the first draft writing has me concerned over the mechanics, to be sure, but in a subdued manner.  What I'm really doing in the first draft is just getting the story onto paper as I discover its nooks and crannies.  The first revision, then, is the time when most of the mechanical issues are identified...notice, by the way, that I said most.  My lovely bride pulled the manuscript up on her computer last night after I'd shown her the super-secret spot on the web where I'd parked it, and on the very first page pointed out some things I can still improve.  Yeah, yeah.  It's not perfect, I know that.  I also know there's a fine line between getting it the best it can be in order to send it out the door successfully and obsessively holding onto the work to make sure all the grammatical demons are purged.  But that's later.  It's time, really, truly, it is time, for me to PUT IT DOWN and work on something else. 

Meanwhile, I've asked others to pick it up.  That's the exciting terrifying scary fun part.  It's like I bared my soul to the world.  Well...not the world so much as a bit over a dozen friends on Facebook and in my WoW guild.  Same difference, really.  I care what my neighbor thinks about my book only so far as whether or not he buys a copy.  Well, she...I think it's a she, anyway, but whatever.  I care what my Facebook friend who loves fantasy and has a master's degree in literature thinks about my book a great deal, though. 

Interestingly, I got just exactly the right mix of people by the end of the day.  I'd been looking for between 12 and 20 people; a number of opinions is good, but drowning in a sea of opinion isn't.  I got a couple of literature masters, a few people who know me well and are very into fantasy fiction, a few people who don't know me well (and are thus more likely to be willing to say "this sucks" if they need to), and a guy I went to church with at West Point who is still a serious Christian.  I was really hoping for the reaction of someone of faith, as my book goes into some fairly anti-Christian storytelling.  Not on purpose, really, but it's hard to explain how a Greek/Roman god has come to life without addressing Christianity too. 

So, anyway, I'm excited.  I'm excited to be back at it discovering a story, and I'm excited to have something I spent the last couple of months creating being critically reviewed by others. 

Word count: 3,261

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