The Necessary Humbling of Editing

Dunce CapA lot of fantasies, daydreams, and rainbows cloud the world of writing. It’s not surprising; actually completely natural since we spend so much of our time making up stories as writers, why wouldn’t we have stories about the stories?

Have you ever seen that scene in a TV show or movie in which a writer finishes a book or script? The writer may raise his hands in triumph over an old typewriter or do a little dance; then we as viewers are then jumped forward in time to their inevitable success.

We don’t see the struggle over getting the book out, finding an audience, working with an agent or publisher or, more importantly, editing. And, let’s be honest, editing is not as exciting as the victory dance of a finished book or the sparks of coming up with ideas around a first draft.

Like I said, it’s a fantasy, people. I have even been known to say to writers that much of the art around true writing happens in the editing. It is there a work is “finetuned,” perfected into a final piece. This year, I worked with a series of different editors. First for, my novel A Jane Austen Daydream (which was published by Madison Street Publishing) and then for my novel  Maximilian Standforth and the Case of the Dangerous Dare.

So why do I love editing so much? Well, because I learned about its importance the hard way. Yes, I have an editing and writing horror story, and I am about to share it. Be prepared, this is about to haunt you like a poltergeist… a writing poltergeist. Continue reading

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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. Continue reading