Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Loose Ends, Tight Beginnings – And Lets Not Even Talk About The Middle!

Hi Guys,

Been a while since I posted. Mostly because I've been busy with my new book – A Bitter Brew. For the past two weeks since it came back from the first pass by the editor I've been deep in the throws of pulling my hair out and swearing at Track Changes as I tried to accept / reject the untold thousands of edits she made! And I'm sure every other author out there knows exactly what I mean.

But finally – roughly two days ago – I finished it and sent it away for its second run through and I thought I should finally write something. And this time the topic was fairly obvious. Antediluvian writing!

Now I'm not talking here about writing about the pre-flood times. (Though it is an interesting idea.) Nor about the writing that was done before the flood. (Though I'm pleased to report that I have one of the largest collections of pre-flood books in existence with exactly zero books! One of which is entitled – “What's That Big Wall Of Water Coming My Wa …!) I'm actually reflecting on my own writing style – which may be a little archaic for want of a better term.

I always get a bit nostalgic when my latest books away for editing. Especially when my editor contacts me to tell me about the latest fashions which she thinks I should try – in this case a white coat that buckles up at the back! But in this case my nostalgia was brought on by reading some of the critiques done of another fledgeling writer's work.

Now I've said this before, and I'll undoubtedly say it again. Probably until I'm in my grave. There is no right way to write a book! There are no rules of writing! Not every book should be written with minimal description and character development and constant page turning seat of your pants action! And those who give critiques are giving you opinion – no more. The challenge for the writer is to decide whether they agree with those opinions or not.

For me, I like good long reads. I like a complicated world build, an involved plot, and deep character work. My editor does a great job of curbing the worst of my excesses – or else every book I wrote would be a thousand pages long! But always as I go through the changes she's made, I sit there with a single question on my mind – do I agree with each change? Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't.

And for all of you out there going through the process of putting your work up for critique, this is the same thing you need to do. Don't simply accept what others say. And for the sake of your peace of mind, don't look at all the edits and think – shit I'm a crap writer! I guarantee the same people could make just as many edits on Tolstoy. And in any case this is not a business for the thin skinned.

So simply thank people for their time and effort, and then go through all the comments with with that one question on your mind. Do you agree? Or put another way – if you do what they say will it still be the story you want to tell being told the way you want to tell it?

Anyway, enough whining from me. I've got to get back to writing. And this time I've got caught up in a strange plot involving the missing Roman Ninth Legion, some Celts and a few fae, an alternate world, and a mist that keeps carrying people away. If I don't keep writing I won't know where the story is going! (People keep asking me where I get my ideas. And quite frankly I'd like to know too – because some of them baffle even me!)

So as always, be good or don't get caught.


Cheers, Greg.