Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Finish it

I have been working on one of my books and I don’t remember working this hard when I wrote it.

Now you may say that’s because I’m a hack and I will admit that, I never had any ambition to write the Great American Novel, my heroes have always been pulpers, Dashiell Hammett, Rex Stout and Edgar Rice Burroughs, with a special nod to Walter B Gibson who as Maxwell Grant wrote two hundred and thirty-two Shadows novels. What devotion!

Jus give me a hero and a threat and maybe a mean, dastardly villain and leave me alone to write and I am content. Unfortunately that’s not all that has to be done.

The writing part is the easy part, just the word processor and a blank screen and word after lovely word and in time you have a novel.

And if that were all it takes, I would have five published novels and an income like J.K. Rowling and be living my life in the tabloids.

Fortunately I have avoided all that by being unpublishible.

That’s right, what I write will never be published. See publishing is a business. They want a guy or girl who can crank out a one hundred and fifty thousand word novel twice a year for the next twenty years and bring in half a million sales with each title. Do you have any idea what that takes?

That’s right; you have to find a way to hook the public. James Patterson has it, that’s about all he has. His books have become so formulaic that they aren’t worth reading, but that doesn’t stop hundreds of thousands from buying each new title. His “Girl’s” Murder Club, he thinks its Women, but none of the women in his stories are mature enough to be anything but girls, has nine titles in the series. There are even more Alex Cross titles and probably will continue so long as he wants to keep writing. I stopped reading Alex Cross when Patterson named his villain The Mastermind. Oh Good Grief! The Mastermind?

But his publisher is happy. And that is really the most important thing, cause a happy publisher is a driven publisher. You sell half a million copies and they’ll send you more than a month old box of Valentine’s candy, you can bet.
To even get a publisher you have to jump through enough hoops to make art look like a smart way to earn a living. You have to write the thing. No one is going to take your word for it, if you don’t have the finished copy you got diddly.

Then you have to start looking for an agent. Sure you can send it in without an agent…do you like the DMV? Let me tell you sending in a book “over the transom” is like going to get your license renewed on a Monday, it will be Thursday before your number gets called and by then you may be too weak to stagger to the counter. “Over the transom” submission don’t even go to the bottom of the pile, they get read, in their spare time, by under-paid, over-worked assistant editors and if they like it after all of the thousands of books they read, they might just pass it on to their boss. Why not just buy a Lotto ticket? You’re odds are better.

If you get an agent to look at your book, you have to convince them that they can make money flaking it cause they don’t get paid if they don’t sell your book and they won’t do a thing with something they can’t sell.

You can self-publish, don’t make a face, Mark Twain did it with Huck Finn and that seems to have worked out. Amazon even makes it pretty easy, so long as you submit your social security number and banking information. Try just leaving your car unlocked the next time you go shopping, the results will be the same and walking is such good exercise.

Jack the Giant Killer had it easy compared to the writer trying to get a book out of his computer and into the bookstores.

But…the biggest obstacle in front of any artist, writer or not is the oldest one, finishing what you start. You can’t do anything if it isn’t finished.

Did you frame it? Did you mat it/ did you go back and create a glossary if you used words which are made-up or not standard English?

I didn’t. Yeah, I know bitch and prod, whine and complain and then be guilty of what you are moaning about.

So that’s what I’ve been doing all day, creating that glossary and it looks like its going to take several days, maybe even a week or two. But there’s nothing to do but do it, cause you have to finish it. You have to finish what you start.

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