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November 30, 2009
Posted at 10:31 am
Updated: November 30, 2009 - 1:46 pm
 

Hiatus update

First off I have to thank all of you who have written to me concerning this thing I'm going through with the publisher. Two publishers actually, but I'll get to that in a minute. I'm not sure how much detail to go into here, because while the detail might be useful to you if you're an author, or aspiring to be an author, most of you are content to be readers. The kiss of death is to bore your audience, and at my age, while I'm still interested in kissing, that death part is already too close.

But the interest in this situation is obvious from your feedback, so you deserve an update on what's happening.

Before I get to the update, you may be wondering why, if I'm slaving away trying to rewrite a book (two books actually,) you keep seeing me reposting stories or chapters of stories already posted? Shouldn't I be getting done with this hiatus business so I can either be rich and famous or get back to writing things for you to read for free?

The answer to that is simple ... in a complicated sort of way.

There are two primary reasons why I'm doing all this in the first place.

First is that I'm always trying to improve my writing. While you and I may not agree that what the publisher is demanding (and a lot of you don't) there are probably some pearls of wisdom in there somewhere, buried in the garbage of what it takes to be fashionable in the literary world of romance novels. I'm an old dumpster diver from way back. What that means is that I don't mind getting in the muck, now and then, to find some little treasure. It's worth the exercise to find and learn the things that will make my writing better.

Second, I don't expect to ever be rich and famous. On the other hand, a bit of income to supplement Social Security someday, or the ability to quit working for the man and write full time without actually starving ... well that would be kind of nice.

That said, the process of taking something you've already spent six months working on, and have edited a dozen times, and then disassembling it and rewriting it along technical lines you think are a bunch of bullshit is ... well it's the kind of thing that leads to pulling one's hair out.

Now, while all this is going on, there are some volunteer proofreaders who have been scouring my posted work for the kind of mistakes that jerk a reader out of flow of the story. They write to me and tell me about them. Then I go in and fix the problem, at which point I begin to see some of the problems that the publisher is talking about. So I do something with that too. Look at it as practice, if you will.

And the fact is I have gotten better at writing over the years, so when I look at some of those old stories I see a lot of places where improvements could be made.

So sometimes I take a little break from the major rewriting on the publisher stuff, and kick around an older story to make it read a little better, or add in something that should have been there in the first place etc etc etc. I'm also still working on a story that Stormy Weather and I are writing together.

That's why it might look like I'm not doing what I told you I'd be doing on this hiatus.

OK, now for the update. And here is where you may get more information that you asked for.

The original story that led to all this hiatus stuff is Read Dirty To Me. That's the one that I wrote about in the previous blog entry, and which so many of you have responded about, telling me to seek second opinions on, or tell the publisher to go fuck himself. Literally. Some of you have suggested I tell him to go fuck himself.

I've been tempted.

But while that was going on, there was a second book that I submitted to a different publisher. I didn't mention that, because I hadn't received anything back from that publisher yet. To be honest, I expected the same kind of response. Most retailers who market similar items are pretty much alike in their business model.

But that's not what happened.

The other book was "Mistrusting A Memory" and the issue this other publisher had with that one was a completely different one. Basically, what this publisher suggested was for the story to be told from only one character's point of view.

If you've read the book, you know there are three main characters who are Bob (the detective,)Lacey (the victim/murderess) and Clair (the psychiatrist). There are a host of secondary characters, consisting primarily of the attorneys, judge and members of the jury.

What the publisher suggested is that it is primarily Bob's story, and that hopping from his head into the head of Lacey and Claire is distracting. She said Bob could tell the entire story, and it would be a smoother read.

So I took a look at how that could be done and, lo and behold, that wasn't quite as brain burning an exercise as what they wanted on Read Dirty To Me. In fact, it was an almost enjoyable exercise ... to a point.

And that's what I've been working on, rather than Read Dirty To Me.

Now, it turns out that I don't fully agree with this publisher either. There are things that happen to Lacey, such as her remembering things, or the accident and murder themselves, that only Lacey was there to experience. Bob wasn't there to see those things. So those have to be told by her voice (or, heaven forbid, the author's). And then there is the trial, and jury deliberations. Bob wasn't there for all of that either. And there is no one character who could describe all of that. And, in my mind, that means the author's voice is required for that.

So that's how I'm rewriting it. I'm making about the first third of the book from Bob's POV. Then Lacey tells her parts, and Bob reacts to that. I did get rid of Claire's part, because while they were fun to write, they didn't move the plot forward. That she had a little crush on Bob had nothing to do with anything. It was probably just my ego, wanting all women to desire me.<G>

But the last third of the book is probably going to remain pretty much as it is. I'll go in looking for problems, but it has to be in the author's voice, even if that's not what's in vogue.

And then I'm going to send it back to the publisher and make my case.

Now what comes after that is kind of up in the air. If she accepts my reasoning (and the book) then there is a basis there for future endeavors. A lot of that will depend on whether the book sells well or not, I imagine. But if, in the end, she likes this one, I'm going to send her Read Dirty To Me and get that second opinion so many of you have suggested I get. The number of publishers in this genre is fairly limited. It's not like I can send it off to half a dozen places and shop around.

In the meantime, when I need a break from being that serious about things, I'm going to keep improving the old stuff. A good example of that is that,a while back I had, to completely pull the story Fiddling Around With Uncle Bob because of some crippling consistency issues that I knew were going to require a complete, detailed editing session to repair. I didn't have the time back then, because I was working on new things. This weekend, when I needed a break, I spent four hours doing that, and am reposting that story. I might even work on some new ideas, now and then, in terms of fleshing out the plot outline.

I don't want to write anything really major right now, because the lessons I'm learning need to be fully sorted through and absorbed before I write the five or six ideas I have for future full blown novels. I'd rather write them right the first time than perform major surgery on them later.

So that's what's going on. I did finish the holiday piece I mentioned in a previous blog entry, and Peaches is looking at it right now. I hope to get it posted in a week or two. I'll do a separate blog entry on that, because of the way I'm going to post it.

Thanks to all of you for your overwhelming support. I hear you. I'm not going to change into some clone of everybody else. And even if a publisher eventually buys some of my books, I have lots of ideas a publisher wouldn't touch, and those are for all of you instead.

Have a great holiday season, whatever your belief system is, and thanks for reading.

Bob