Monday, July 25, 2011

Writing: There’s More To It Than The Fun Stuff

First, this isn’t a negative post. Just a realistic one. I love writing, but I don’t love everything about writing for publication. I know I’m not alone. First the good. I love building a story from the first word to The End. I love fleshing out characters and working through the plot. I even love filling out character questionnaires, conflict sheets, and a W plot married with Larry Brooks’ structuring. I love seeing it come together before I write the opening sentence…and boy do I love a great opening hook. I love seeing the sentences and paragraphs on the screen and page. I love reading passages and thinking they are just right. I love finding a better, stronger word. I love getting the perfect description. I love snappy dialogue. I love it when it works in every form. And then comes the rest.

I like revision until it gets to the point of being overkill, which I am frequently guilty of. After a while, editing gets old and I not only want to stop, I want to kill my characters because I have become sick of them. I have reached this point of editing saturation with a current work. All I want to do is spend time with my new love (my new wip), and the old one is wearing on my nerves.

After editing overkill, comes the synopsis. Now, frankly, I think I would almost prefer that someone shove sticks in my eyes than write a synopsis. The idea of getting a six hundred plus page novel condensed into one or two pages? Uh, yeah. Not my idea of a good time. And no matter how many workshops I take on writing the perfect synopsis… they are never perfect. Not even close.

Not quite as painful as the synopsis is the query letter. Over the years my query letter skill has improved somewhat. But I still don’t like writing the little buggers. But I would write ten queries before tackling one synopsis if I had the choice.

Next comes the last part of the process. Promotion. Who would have thought about all the time that would have to be spent focused on promotion instead of writing? Again, uh, yeah. Sometimes I feel like a two-bit whore peddling my wares. But that’s how it is if you want to sell books. These days it’s on the author to sell their work.

I’m sure I have plenty of company in bemoaning these aspects of writing. But at the end of the day, I wouldn’t give up my chosen path as an author because of the few parts I don’t like. Writing is the only thing, career wise, that feels right to me. And when you find what’s right, you don’t give it up because of a few things that are less than perfect. 

What parts of the process are your personal pain? What do you wish you could avoid forever?

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