Monday, July 13, 2009

Hey Wait...I Wrote This

You spend a long time writing a novel. You find an agent or you pitch directly to the publisher. You get your manuscript to the publisher and the editing process begins. Back and forth and you have to realize everyone's working to make this book as good as it can be. In a way, it's like the doctors taking your newborn child and changing his eye color because he looks better that way. Messing with creative integrity and all that.

Edits done, cover spec sheet finished, last run-through on a pdf version of your manuscript and a jpeg of your cover art. Yes, it looks fantastic. Then silence and you wait.

One day, you find a box by your front door and when you open it, you discover paperback versions of your manuscript, complete with the awesome cover art you had very little to do with. You open a copy and sniff the pages (yes, you do, you know you do) because somehow, after all this time, you can't believe you're holding your manuscript in book form. It's real. You flip through the book, recognizing those great phrases, those cool scenes, the wickedly fun characters. This is your baby come into reality.

There's part of the set-up. I've left out all the promotion and marketing you've done so that a million people know your book is available.

This past Saturday, I was at Sherlock's Books & Cafe's Craft and Musicfest (down in Galloway, NJ (20 minutes outside Atlantic City)), selling my two books, not unlike many fairs and cons where I've sold my book. As is customary, someone walks by, sees me, sees the book, and asks if I wrote it. I said yes and they made a comment about how impressive it is that I've got two published books when they didn't think they could even write one. They bought the book, I signed it and off they went.

There are more times than not, when I forget how incredible writers are, myself included. Here are people with the perseverance to not only sit down and write a book (or short story or novella), but to go back and edit it (again and again), then to submit it for someone else to see in hopes of publishing it so many more people will see it.

Because I love storytelling (my chosen method is the novel), it comes easy to me. Yes, writing can be laborious if you consider it work and not playing in your passion, but the end result, the moment we hold that finished manuscript and realize "I did this", we know it was all worth it. I know for some, writing is difficult, and at times, it is for me. There is so much to remember, both in the technical aspect of writing and also the craft. Characters, plot, tension, many elements.

But all that stuff is for the revision process. The first draft for me, is pure fun. Watching the world come into being, watching characters become more than words on a page, watching places that don't exist become real...can you have more fun than that and still be legal? You have to be able to allow yourself a crappy first draft so that you can get it all down. I know, some will edit as they go, but for me, that path loses the spontaneity of creation. Also, I've known people who edit to death and never get beyond chapter one.

But I digress. It's easy for me to lose track of myself. I work full time, I'm married, with a house, a lawn, two cats, and all the things that make up being an "adult" in 21st Century America. So the writer part of me can get shoved aside without a second thought. But when I'm at a fair or a con selling my book or just talking writing with my fellow writers, that writer part is front and center and there's nothing more exhilarating than me saying to someone "Hey, take a look, I made this" and them holding my creation in their hands and saying, "Sure, I will" and they give me money, I give them a signature and off they go.

Now go write. There are a million stories waiting to be told.

Peace,Gary . . .

P.S.: Even more exhilarating than the sale? Having a reader write me and tell me that they loved the book, or, as one reader told me, he has mild dyslexia and hasn't enjoyed reading until he picked up my book and he couldn't wait to start on the next one.

1 comment:

  1. Gary, thanks for the invite to follow.

    I know what you mean, but from the ebook perspective. I grin ear-to-ear every time I see one of my covers on a publisher's site.

    Nice post.