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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.



  1. Telling a story is a gift. Just think, you are helping the economy by keeping an editor busy.