Monday, March 4, 2013

So You Want to Write a Book?

So you think you'll write a book. Okay. It's a good aspiration. I have but one modest suggestion at the outset: Be sure that's what you really want to do, as writing that book can be bad for your health--physically and emotionally--if you're not ready or willing to do what it takes.  What does it take? From my viewpoint, it takes the perseverance of a marathon runner, the patience of a saint and the perspective of an octogenarian at least. 

First, let's get an idea. You know, that new slant, brilliant twist, blockbuster worthy, light bulb busting aha?
Now comes the research. Let's see if your topic's been done before. No? Great! Let's get on with the real research. Get those stats correct. Be sure the geography is right. Don't make a mistake with history, for heaven's sake.
Got all that in place? Great. Now it's time to wait for your muse to visit. Did I mention, wait? Oh, yes. This is a being that delights in calling the shots, usually later rather than sooner. But finally, she's come calling to accompany you through the morass of story building.
You settle in for a lovely literary liaison with her. And things go so well! That first draft of your manuscript is finished. You are so proud. So happy. So fulfilled.
Then it's time to visit your critique group. Didn't I mention your critique group? Silly me. You must have one. No, no, no to writing in a vacuum. But not to worry. You have produced a masterpiece, and everyone there will sing your praises and cast literary lilies at your feet.
Yeah. Right. They tear it to shreds. Nothing left but your title, and half of them hated that. They say things like, "What point of view? You don't have a point of view." Or perhaps, "These characters are so shallow, I can see right through them." You know. Helpful comments.
Home you slog in a huff, manuscript still too hot to handle from all the vitriol spewed upon it.
Next morning, you take up your quill, open the hateful pages with your fellow authors' marks covering them--and learn! Waddya know? Huh. Their ideas aren't half bad. And you summon your muse back and begin again.
Now emerges the fun part.What is it, you ask? Two words, with an article between: Agent or publisher. Research revisited. Yep. Gotta see who matches whom, as in: "Why did this agent reject my book? Yes, she's known for Romance Novels, but surely she cannot resist my concept book." Have another think about that...
But, hey, miracles still happen (think George Bailey), and a publisher wants your book. That's terrific. You're gonna make millions and fast, too. Why, it'll only take--how long? Two years! I could be dead by then. What's that? It'll be published postumously? Swell.
And so it goes. But, then again. There's something wonderous, delicious, stupendous about writing that manuscript, polishing that manuscript, shining that manuscript that I would not miss for the world.

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