Monday, February 15, 2010

And I also wrote some stuff

These days are a little tedious as I wait for my computer to arrive. It was shipped out last week, and should arrive tomorrow or the next day. Today was a possibility, but it did not come. This means I need to stay home, though, so that I don't miss it, because if they can't deliver it, I need to wait 48 hours and then go retrieve it from the post office, and that thing's heavy!

So I'll write more about the days after our move while my son plays on the floor. Right after we got into our new apartment, Trevor had a week long course in Bristol. We considered all going, but my parents were passing through London later in the week, so our son and I stayed here.

I got a ton of writing done, and the best part of that is that I had a ton of writing I wanted to do. Stories just take for-ever to mature for me. I always have to do a junk draft, and sometimes several before I feel comfortable enough in the world to actually sit down and write something resembling a draft that could be polished up into a final draft. I go for long periods of time working on projects that make me want to rip my hair out, and when I finally break through to the point that I feel like I can polish one up, I only want to rip my hair out about a third of the time, so that's an improvement.

I'm working on a YA urban fantasy right now, and I've got 44,000 words down. This one will be long for me, given I spent years honing my ability to do the 60,000 word novel. People nowadays just seem to love books that are slower paced and use a lot of showing rather than telling, and I'm willing to try my hand at writing in that style, provided my characters and world can hold my interest. That is still an ongoing process, getting to that point.

Someone who's been an amazing help to me is my friend, Char, who's been reading the book as I write it. Forget finding a friend who'd lay down their life for you. The true measure of friend loyalty is someone who'll read your draft prose and not beg to lay down their life instead. So far, Char hasn't, though I keep testing her on that front.

While I don't expect to make a ton of money with this book, I would like to sell it in the national market. We'll see how that goes. I already know some agents that I'd like to try, who expressed interest in the next thing I complete. I also think this particular novel and the series that would grow from it, are the most marketable thing I've written. So, we'll see.

It's odd, when I talk to people, to hear their "win the lottery" take on book publishing. A lot of people have this idea that you write a book, send it out, and end up either becoming J.K. Rowling or nobody. I've actually heard, more than once, people say, "you can't make money at writing unless you're someone like J.K. Rowling" - though let me point out, I know no one in the industry who says preposterous things like that. J.K. Rowling was told, when Harry Potter was accepted for publication, that she'd probably make very little money. Many top selling authors worked their way up to their market position, rather than just writing something so brilliant that they got chosen to make millions with every book after that.

I sometimes wonder if people believe the "lottery" myth about writing because they can't imagine bothering to do it the way most writers do it. They can't fathom writing a whole novel, that they then shelve and never get published. They can't imagine submitting to a dozen or two dozen or four dozen agents to find the one willing to represent them (no exaggeration, whatsoever, on the numbers there.) They can't imagine selling their beloved, year long investment novel for a few thousand dollars, and then working at the next one to make a little more. They are boggled at the thought of having to get five well received novels out there before royalties start coming in, and terrified of the fact that a good career can crater at any point. Your editor gets fired. Your agent passes away. You inadvertantly offend the marketing director.  Your cover artist discovers a new hallucinogenic drug an the resulting cover is beyond abstract. (All of those, incidentally, are real things that have happened to real writers.)

Writing, like anything else, requires reliability on your part. People are so in love with the idea of the one novel that becomes a best seller. In order to make a career out of anything, though, you can't get all absorbed on that "one" brilliant moment you had. A career is built on a consistent body of work and a lot of long hours and hard work.

And on that note, I've got another chapter to write!


  1. Thanks for pointing out some of the hard truths of publishing! It's always nice to know what you're really getting yourself into, instead of what you think you're getting yourself into. *g*

    Hope you're enjoying London and the weather isn't too hard on you.

  2. The weather's been pretty mild lately. How're things in Germany? I just don't want it to snow before I have my computer. After that, we can have snowmageddon for all I care (though the rest of London no doubt feels differently.)

  3. The temperatures remain below freezing and the snow on the ground has been accumulating since the beginning of January. The main streets are mostly clear, but side streets like ours are all but blocked by snow hills on each side. We are definitely ready for spring!

    Shameless plug here: Don't forget to check the LDS Publisher Blog for her Book of Mormon Short Story Contest! I've just submitted my story, and voting starts on Monday.

    Have a great week and happy writing!

  4. Ooh, thanks for the heads up! I'll definitely head over there. It's next Monday the voting starts?

  5. Yes, Monday the 22nd. She'll be putting up a few stories a day until then.

    Have you got your computer yet?

  6. No, it's still clearing customs. I hope your poor dragons aren't too lonely!