Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Getting Closer by the Day

When I was a kid, I used to watch sporting events and started out each game with dreams that my favorite player, whether it was Roberto Clemente, Pierre Laruoche, or Lynn Swann, would pile up fantastic statistics in the most lopsided victory in history. I wanted records and Hall of Fame inductions. As the game went on, the most important thing became clearer. Records be damned, I want the win.

I haven't matured much apparently, because I started out every chapter wanting to make the definitive statement on that setting or circumstance the MC finds himself in. I wanted each sentence to be so unique and profound that the reader would slap his forehead, "Sac re bleu! This is magnificent!" Well, at this stage of the book, I think I just want the win. A good story.

Hopefully my zeal hasn't doomed me to hours of eradicating purple prose from my early chapters. I'm convinced there's nothing that can't be fixed in there. But I find myself already getting defensive. There was a thread started on Absolute Write that stated that the OP didn't like battle scenes. Found them boring. Dozens chimed in and echoed his sentiment. Now, I happen to have a battle scene in my WIP, and I confess that that one single silly thread made me think about pulling out what had been a crucial plot mover in the story for the last three or four years. No, I have to trust the story. Even at the risk of making some readers skip ahead. If they do, it's okay. As long as they don't put the book down, and I don't think anyone who makes it that far would. If anyone's going to put it down, they'll put it down early on.

The closer I get to the end, the more resistant I am to change. Hopefully, that won't make me blind to changes that need to be made in the future. I don't want to be the stubborn author who insists the dreadful scene remains while twelve out of thirteen critters are telling hm it sucks. Also, as the end draws nearer, I'm becoming more aware of the business of writing. It turns out that an author on AW, James MacDonald, is an instructor at Viable Paradise, a writer's workshop. Now, I like MacDonald, I know him on line, and he's a great guy, but if a writer's teaching workshops, then he's not writing. James has a bunch of books he and his wife have published, but he apparently has decided to make some money on the side by teaching. A noble cause. But I don't expect Rowling or Brown to be instructors anytime soon, because they have more to write.

There are people making money all over the place off writers who want to be published. People will spend money for the advice that might be the difference, and there are many people out there willing to take it from them. Bless their hearts. I don't begrudge a single dine to anyone. But I have a hard time seeing myself as ever spending a dime on this stuff unless it's on cover art or editing. And I can't help but wonder how many talentless suckers dish out $1500 or whatever the charge is to have a mid-level author like James tell them how they can be better writers. It almost seems like a cruel deception. Come, young starlet, hand over a years worth of tips you've collected at TGI Fridays, and we'll make you a movie star. Just hand over the money, and you'll get the best training this side of Hollywood.

People are getting rich off the indie publishing boom, and some day there will be stories written about the ethics involved, you can bet on that.


  1. It's an issue because although anyone can write - not everyone can draw or dance or sing (though American Idol proves thousands THINK they can) - self-publishing has made the process of getting published so easy it's opened the floodgates to anyone who thinks they have a story to tell. Many do, many don't. I'd like to think those who have a talent will rise to the top of the squirming sea of writers but I suspect a lot of good writers will sink, never to be seen again. sadly talent is not enough. Easy pickings to be made from the desperate. I am such a pessimist.Sigh...

  2. I'm with you. I don't see myself spending money on that sort of thing either.

    If you like your battle scene then by all means don't sweat it. I admit to not being a fan of long, drawn out, highly detailed battle scenes, but beyond that, if that's the scene is needed and it's well written it needs to stay. Don't axe it just because there's a thread where some people say they don't like them. You've been around long enough to know what to trust and what might have to be cut.

    And finish this thing already, would you? I want to read it! ;)