While I’m editing my Her Demonic Majesty–which got pretty good last night, as there was the tossing of black death balls, magical people running scared, and one burning wizard getting tossed across a street by a demoness–I’m pretty amazed at the pace of the story. Not only does it feel like a fast read to me, but the entire span of the story goes from afternoon on the 17th of August, and ends on the morning of the 20th of the same month. I was chatting with The Muse last night, and even though she knows all about this novel–she is The Muse, after all: she knows all when it comes to my writing–she commented, “That goes by pretty fast!”
I commented that I thought it was necessary. One, if you put a lot of stuff in about how the main character, Jeannette, spends all her time trying to learn how this magical stuff works, then you have a story much longer than the current 86,000 word novel that currently exists. Two, I didn’t want to do that, because I was writing this during NaNoWriMo, so I wanted to finish it inside of thirty days. Third, as I explained, “You throw her into the situation, it forces her to bond with the only two people who can help her, and there’s more interaction between them, rather than a lot of scenes of her trying to learn magic.”
As I’ve stated before, Demonic Majesty has a good Farscape Start feel to it. Jump into that fire, get burned, then put yourself out and have a go at things again. Learn fast, Grasshopper, or you’re going to end up in a messy way before long. It’s a good way to run an action movie–at good one, at least–and it’s not a bad way to plot out a novel.
(I do realize, as well, that once Jeannette loses her “home”–aka, The Chicago Castle–in the novel, she only has about 48 hours before all the traps are cleared and the bad guys get all her magical goodies. So that factor puts her in even more of a time crunch–even though, when she does return to The Castle, it’s for entirely different reasons . . .)
There’s been some talk of late about writers who self-publish, and those who are lying in way to read their works. The tone of the article is such that it makes out any writer who is publishing one novel a year to be some kind of super-slacker who isn’t feeding the ebook jones of their readers–who, I should mention, are probably bitching about how they had to pay more than $0.99 for your eighty thousand word novel while sipping on their $5 mocha latte grande at Starbucks. The feeling is one of, “You have to keep writing, and putting things out there for people to read–and make it more than affordable!–or you’re going to sink into the Swamp of Forgotten Authors–”
I’m the first one to say if you are writer, then write. Write every day. Even if it’s five hundred words a day, in time that adds up.
But I’ve learned something else from this self-publishing thing I did with one of my stories: it’s not enough to write your story, you need to edit it. And edit again. And, if you have time, let someone read it over before you throw it out to the Masses for consumption. When I published Kuntilanak, I had it edited as I was writing it, and then I did another edit on it before I put it up on Smashwords. And because of readers who were kind enough to contact me and say, “Um, I think you need to fix this . . .”, I’ve edited it twice more into what I believe is a very, very clean version.
Kuntilanak was only 24,000 words. I’m now working with a novel that’s three and a half times longer than Kuntilanak, and what? I’m going to breeze through it and put it up for sale, then have someone come along and maybe tell me, “I pay three bucks for ur novel, and it sux! U got 2 many spelln mistakes!” Nope, don’t want to have that happen.
Writing is easy. Telling a story is hard. Presenting that story that is 99.9999% free of spelling and grammatical errors is even harder. Rather than publishing articles that tell the poor writer what a freakin’ slacker they are because they aren’t writing fast enough for their public, how about a few more articles about how difficult writing is not only from the point of creating the story, but what it takes to get that story out in a way that doesn’t make it look as if the first draft was done in crayon by a four year old?
Wow, can you imagine all those articles supporting the poor writer?
No . . . I can’t either.