A Writing Update: I Don’t Like Roller Coasters

Ahhhhh!!!!!I don’t like roller coasters.

I never have, and the few times I have dared ride one, I stiffen up, feeling all of my muscles tighten and lock in place from my toes to my face. I’ve even been known to get kinks in my neck from the experience that can last for hours afterwards. Yes, I suffer from a good roller coaster. You may scream in joy, I’m the guy in the back with the gritted teeth screaming in terror like a child in a haunted house.

The only roller coasters I have been known to enjoy are not considered intense in anyone’s book. For example, I like the ones at Disneyland (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain, etc.) and I think part of the reason I like those is because I have something to look at, as compared to the ground rushing towards me, preparing to swallow me up into the black of death’s eternal oblivion.

Well, last week for me and my writing was a roller coaster. In a matter of a week (and just a week), I had my old publisher close up shop, got a termination letter, received my last check, and watched my beloved novel disappear from amazon… AND in that same week- I got a great new publisher for it and decided to try something new with one of my other books! So on the roller coaster I went screaming down and then rose up in relief, safe to live once more, and strangely and magically stronger and happier for the experience.

Here is an update on what is going on right now with three of my books: A Jane Austen Daydream, Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare, and Permanent Spring Showers.

A Jane Austen Daydream

Last night I had my first meeting with my new publisher on Skype. That was… just awesome.

I’m already a big fan, and we seem to be on the same page on so many different things around the book, from editing to the release (game plan right now is April).

Yes, the book is getting another edit and that is not a bad thing. The cleaner and more professional the work can be, the better for the “suspension of disbelief” of the reader. See, I admit I am one of those readers that can fall out of my “trance” by a misspelled word. The only problem is Daydream can be a tricky book to edit since so much of Jane’s own words encompass the work. I look forward to seeing how it turns out.

This will be a re-birth for my novel (so a release near Easter and in Spring might not symbolically be a bad thing) and I look forward to sharing it with you. Not many books get this kind of a lucky chance. I can’t thank my new publisher enough for it.

Also, I had the kick of seeing the new mock-up cover images (Yes, they are working that fast!). Man, that is fun! Is there anything more fun for an author? I look forward to sharing the new cover with you later on… So until I have more to share, this is all I can say on Daydream. Stay tuned…

Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare

I like to experience all the writing world has to offer… Oh wait,  I said that already in a post on Friday (here).

Okay, I won’t repeat too much from that post, but I’m going to try and see what the big deal is around contemporary self-publishing. Everyone seems to be talking about it, and I am using an old unpublished book of mine for this venture.

Victorian EnglandIt’s called Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare. It’s a Victorian period mystery/thriller with some major literary twists. I love the book and I look forward to hearing what people think of it when it is ready to come out. It’s pretty unique.

Right now, I’m working with an editor (Rebecca T. Dickson, you can learn more about her and her services on her site here). I’ve already received some corrections from her and a bunch of helpful e-mails. It’s so far a fun process and she is doing a great job.

So what have I learned so far? I like semi-colons and ellipses. I know, I know, a lot of people have strong opinions about semi-colons (My hero Kurt Vonnegut hated them, for example), but I find them poetic; they allow a sentence to have that little bit more of color that would be missed if a period was used instead.

Like my post on Friday, I plan to give updates from time to time on the process. If I am lucky I can get this out around the same time as A Jane Austen Daydream (which will, honestly, get a majority of my focus at that time, really wanting that book to find an audience). I hope you enjoy following the process around Max and will check it out when it comes out.

Permanent Spring Showers

It’s so exciting when you finish a book.

It would be cliché to talk about a drug or a high, but it does feel like you can take on the world; a sword just for you has been forged. It’s mighty, important (it might even glow when goblins are near [not really]), and it is unique to you and only you. Yet, what I have learned over my years as a writer is that this high is an illusion; all smoke and mirrors. It’s just a first draft and, in my opinion, the art of writing really happens over the editing as the book is fine-tuned into a finished novel. You sketched the Mona Lisa, now fill in the colors, damn it!

I have also learned it is dangerous to jump right into editing a first draft of a book. Confidence can cloud the eyes and after just finishing the first draft you won’t give it the concentration it needs; scanning not really reading… of course, this is just me.

So I need to walk away from a book after finishing one. It’s not always easy to do, but it has to happen. I need to walk away so I can come back with clear eyes.

Sometimes this can be a few months, sometimes longer. Heck, I have a book I wrote a first draft of two years ago that I have yet to return to. That’s not to say anything is wrong with that book; I’m just not ready to return to that world yet (and, yes, it is in a different world than ours, so I am being literal).

Yet, Permanent Spring Showers is different from other first drafts since I was so heavily editing it as I wrote it, preparing it for sharing each Friday on the site. It may turn out that when I return to the book I might be relieved that a lot of the heavy lifting is done. Whatever the case, I’m happy to have the distractions with my other books to easily turn me away from it. And when both of those books are out (and I am done dancing in joy), I will return to the manuscript, edit, preparing it for sending out. I will probably also be taking if off the site then (you have been warned).

I don’t know yet what will happen with that book (indie press, agents, competitions, etc.), but I’m still on that roller coaster, I’m just slowing going up a hill now.

So I guess I am never really off the ride…

If you liked reading this post, why not check out one of my books? I’ve had three novels published in the last few years, A Jane Austen Daydream (coming in April), My Problem With Doors and Megan. You can find them via my amazon.com author page here, or as an eBook on Google eBooks here.  Thanks for reading!…

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17 responses

  1. Perfect analogy. Reminds me of the grandmother in the movie Parenthood… The roller coaster scene. My kids make me ride ’em. I close my eyes and scream Yeah, writing and roller coasters. Sometimes you just gotta do it.

      • She saw it and asked me to deliver a message:
        In addition to the banning of semi-colons, she firmly believes a writer should never use “there is” in a sentence. It’s also undesirable to use jargon. Passive verbs and language that gives a reader pause means said reader may not start again. Seek original images, active verbs and language that always shows, not tells.
        xox

      • In all seriousness, though, nuance is a powerful, useful aspect of language, and I could never subscribe to the modern schools of thought that insist on reducing forms of expression. It would be akin to removing a color from a painter’s palette – he may be able to emulate it to varying degrees of success by mixing others, but why rob him of the ability to be succinct and precise?

        These stylistic elements exist to enhance the ability to convey meaning, and they all have their place. The frequency of their use should be moderated by their transparency, but ‘never’ is a poor companion to an endeavor of creativity.

      • Cool, I have my own gang of writers. They back me up! Don’t mess with the Scott. LOL.

        Seriously though, all writers need an editor. I’m really appreciating the work Becky is doing, and I definitely recommend her services.

    • A JANE AUSTEN DAYDREAM comes out in April, but when it is released it will be in Kindle as well, of course. Stay tuned for that!

      If you would like to read some of my eBooks now, MY PROBLEM WITH DOORS and MEGAN are both available as eBooks and can be read on the Kindle, but they are available via Google Play and/or the publishing house (ipublishpress.com) for $9.99.

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