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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Rearview


It's the chrysalis. The pupa.

Car Mirror and Cornfield Free Photo

18 still remembers endless summers where fun is interrupted only by sleep. 18 can still feel the slip-and-slide on its belly, the cook-outs and late night games of Hide-n-Seek. 18 remembers snuggling on the couch when it was sick, having soup delivered in front of the TV. 18 remembers laughing so hard it farted.

18 sees these things in the rearview.

To see the road ahead, 18 has to look away. 18 will see the potential that lies in winding roads and steep mountains. 18 will know there are views at the tops it has never seen. 18 will feel the thrill of riding to the bottoms and the labor of climbing back up. 18 can't see the butterfly that lies ahead until it lets go of the rearview.

Knowing that, every once in a while, it can look back. Because it was fun.

Great fun.


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Fat Skinny Girl

I speak English. Just can't always write it.

I just released Foreverland is Dead. It's my 10th novel, I think. It's a good sign when you can't remember how many you have out, but then again I can't remember a lot of things. I keep in touch with the indie publishing (formerly known as self-publishers) community, which is invaluable. Some indies are killing it, rolling in 6 figures annually. The fact that I'm making ANY money is wondrous.

But all things are relative.

One indie, Elle Casey, is like a writing machine, cranking out 20+ novels in less than a couple years (again, run those stats through my memory filter, they're ballpark). I generate about 3 books a year. I'm a slacker. My wife says:

You sound like the skinny girl that thinks she's fat.

She's right. The fact I can even write 70,000 words is an accomplishment. And they're coherent. And people like them (some, not all; no fiction writer wins them all, not even Rowling).

Here's why indie writing has a place in the world. I suck at English. I'm not the worst, I know some big words and when to use them, most of the time. Incorrigible, see? I just used that. However, it became abundantly clear just how far I am from professional writing when I had Foreverland is Dead edited. It's clear I don't know:

  • When to use lay/lie
  • When to use farther/further (didn't even know I was screwing that up)
  • Once my character "shuttered" (instead of "shuddered")
  • Once my character walked down an "isle" (that would be "aisle")
  • I don't care about dangling participles (but dangling is funny)
  • I don't care about semi-colons or ems because I'll never know how to use them properly (that doesn't stop me from using them
  • I don't care about font treatment (larger font, all caps; evidently this is frowned upon)

Here's the deal. I'm a decent storyteller. I've got some tales to spin, but I don't care about proper English etiquette. That bothers some readers. They have every right. The English language is a craft some hold close to their heart. It doesn't bother other readers (I couldn't care less).

I'll never win a Hugo Award or impress an English professor. I just want to tell the story. My editor can have it pressed and ready for the dance.