dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

dark am i, yet lovely, a lily among thorns, majestic as stars in procession

Monday, 27 February 2012

Glimpses Gone...and Editing

So let’s talk about some writing. I’ve said before that it’s much easier to write about writing than it is to just write, and probably more interesting to read about too. There is always method behind the madness. Glimpses Gone was written between March and June 2003, two months after the completion of Banishment Pictures. 2003 was a golden year. To pen 64,000 words within four months was probably my most prolific spell (that’s over 500 words a day, every day, which is t’riffic, considering I had a 3 year gap in Exhausturbation, upcoming e-book). I think it was one of three books on the go that year. Applaud now. Danka.

Ban Pic was not my first book, but it was the first book which wasn’t novice work (in my opinion). I’d kind of been learning how to write beforehand and this was the one when I sat down knowing exactly what I wanted to do and how to do it, full of confidence and determination. I remember starting the first sentence sat on a stool in my kitchen very distinctly. Once finished, and starting Glimpses Gone, I was well in my pomp. Killing it. Smashing it. All over it. 

Some have been known to say that GG is my finest work (and also that I devour Big Macs in 3 bites). Granted, it has a very soft spot in my heart. I remember wanting not just to write but to write well, a feeling that has not returned until Escaping Hazel. They are both alike also in the way that their openings are very laboured, and if I’m honest, even a little repetitive. Okay, very repetitive – or thorough, as I prefer. GG has no real dialogue interaction until about 10,000 words or so. I am well aware that an editor would recommend cutting all the extraneous stuff unless it is essential to the plot, but I have never understood all that revamp, redraft, rehash, rewrite philosophy: 

 “An artist never finishes a painting – he just stops working on it.” Columbiana (2011) Know what I'm saying? It’s the same for stories. You’d be there until Doomsday. I say: “Lay the egg and move on.”

They reckon you need a tough skin. Correctomundo. A single offhand comment can pierce your armour like a dart. Going back thru a long-ass book and removing a bunch of characters, for example, or cutting it beyond recognition, because somebody else says so? I tell you what, why don’t you do it, seen as you’re so smart, and save me the hassle?

It’s like somebody taking the mick out of your baby, and it’s hard to draw the line between 10 proofreads with a yellow highlighter or doing a quick spell-check and calling it good to go. I’ve never read one of those How To Write books (although I’ve had some given to and bought for me...what does that tell you), because if you think too much about doing something then it becomes a hindrance. Did I mishear, or was the name of this game CREATIVE writing? That means my way, not yours. Your way is technical, like in school. My way is doing what the bejesus I feel like and then self-pubbing the living daylights out of it to make dollars for Bieber CDs...eventually. They do say it's important to know the rules before you break them, however. Fair point.

No but yeah but seriously, creative covers, expensive editing and fancy formatting don’t make a hardcore genuine story, although a hardcore story deserves all that and more. The main thing, in all of this, is love and coping. You love it, and it helps you cope. Everything else is incidental. F**k writing begging notes to agents, which you can’t even do without first reading a book of How To Write Begging Notes To Agents. I’d rather cope in love with the odd typo, up to my knees in grammar traps. I doubt the reader even notices anyway. This is, after all, as bestselling author Dr Loomis says  – played by Malcolm McDowell  in Halloween (2007): “Spoon-feeding drivel to the masses.” And I thought Steve King was patronising his supporters by calling them Constant Readers. "Fan is a dirty word." Gregg Valentino

Read the preview of Glimpses Gone on Amazon. It’s so flippin long you don’t need me to brief you about it here. Why such a long preview Amazon? FFS. It’s like going into a car dealership and the dude on the forecourt offering you a test drive for a whole chuffin month.

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