Bookin' It

So Many Books. So Little Time. Let's Review!

Where The Heck Have I Been?

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I don’t know if any of YOU guys have been wondering where I disappeared to, but I find that I have been wondering, myself. I seem to have been floundering in some alternate universe where I can’t even keep up with my blogs lately. That has got to stop. Must. Get. Control.  Or at least fake it well enough that no one knows I’m in freefall, down here. So, here is my attempt to touch base with those of you who are kind enough to follow this blog.

Where have I been? Writing. Yes, writing. Just not blogging. Some of you know I got the wild idea a few months ago that I was finally going to sit down and write a book. An actual book, with wordies on pages, and covers and all, as the Wee Free Men might say. I don’t have any idea of why I decided I was going to do this, except that it was something I’ve wanted to do since I was about five years old, yet never attempted. To my shock and dismay, I realized on my 69th birthday that time was flying by. (“Like sands through the hourglass, so go the Days Of Our Lives”). Soon, writing anything…even signing my own name…could cease to be an option. Do or die time…literally. Consider my writing a book something I wanted to tick off of my pre-Bucket List. (I’m refusing to admit that it might also be time for me to start a REAL one.)

Yesterday, I finished my story. I have written a beginning, a middle, and an ending, and have the Beta readers to prove it. I call it a story because it now needs to be slapped and bullied and mangled into becoming something that could pass for the aforementioned actual book. I have the plot laid out from start to finish, and I have developed my characters to the point that I’m compelled to set extra places at the table for them every night. But it is not a book, yet. Things will have to get bloody before I can claim that. 

Tomorrow, I begin the editing and revision process that I hope will leave me with a finished product I can publish. I will be going back through every chapter with a scalpel…okay, with a machete and a flamethrower…mercilessly hacking away all the stuff that doesn’t belong. I will be a brutal Inquisitioner, demanding to know if each and every line adds anything to the story, and is therefore worth keeping, or if the lines in question are merely self-indulgent crap, clogging up my prose like a hairball in a drainpipe. (See what I did there? We writers can make those sorts of comparisons with impunity, because…well…ummm…okay…you got me. There really is no reason for saying something like that, except that we can!)

Anyhoo…with any luck at all, hacking and trimming and pruning will not be as all-consuming as trying to make the plot come together in a sequence of events that makes sense. Therefore, if all goes well, I should find myself freed up for more reading, more reviewing, and more blogging. At least that’s my plan. Wish me luck!

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14 thoughts on “Where The Heck Have I Been?

  1. You are my inspiration!!

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  2. Felix on said:

    “hacking and trimming and pruning “, isn’t that one of the scenes in the story ?
    Ha ha ha ! It is a great book and I’m proud of you. Not just of your writing skills and imagination but also because you are accomplishing a dream that you’ve had all your life.

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    • Very funny, Felix! You are right, it feels great to have almost accomplished something I’ve always wanted to do. Just a little bit farther now, and I’ll be there! Thank you so much for all your help.

      Like

  3. Yeah! TOM. I’m so proud of you!!! I can’t imagine that it would need much more editing! It read better than most books when I was reading it!! Good luck with it! I’m excited for you! Lots of love, tom. 😊😄

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    • Thank you, Marsha. I appreciate your kind words. Oh, there’s a LOT of editing to do, believe me. I made plenty of rookie mistakes in plot structure, for one thing. But I think I now understand how to fix them. And there’s tons of grammar and punctuation stuff that needs correcting. Plus, I have some ideas for ways to add extra drama, too. So I will be going over every chapter with a fine-toothed comb. And I just wrote a brand new prologue, too. This part of the process is really exciting to me. I’m enjoying it.

      🙂

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      • You are so amazing. Everything you do, you do to perfection. I am so impressed. – and a little envious as well, I have to say. You must have been talking to other writers in the process! I sure didn’t have any of those kinds of thoughts when I was reading through it. Are you going to have to get a professional editor? It will be interesting to watch your progress and process. 🙂

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        • Boy, do I have YOU fooled! You’d know I’m not a perfectionist if you saw the state of my house and garden these days.

          No, I haven’t really talked to any other writers, but I HAVE been reading a ton of books on plot structure, character development, and anything else I thought would help me produce a decent first book. I’m not striving for a break-out novel, here. Just a decent romantic mystery that is done in a reasonably professional style, without glaring errors in grammar or spelling. If it finds an audience, I’ll be thrilled. If not, I’ll still feel really great that I managed to write it and get it published. It’s all been a learning experience, and I intend to keep writing. I enjoy it more than anything I’ve ever done, and I’m not going to give up.

          I do plan to have it edited properly when I think I’ve gone as far as I can on my own. The cleaner the manuscript, the less work an editor has to do. And the less work they do, the less expensive it is. My goal is to do my job as well as I possibly can, so that their job is easier. But I’m smart enough to know I’m not going to catch every split infinitive or dangling participle. Okay, I might manage to catch the split infinitives. I HATE them. But in a generation of readers brought up to believe “To Boldly Go” is okay…well, I’ll probably be the only one noticing those.

          😀

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          • You just might, TOM, be the only one to notice. I had no idea how poor my grammar was until I started working as a consultant, and English consultants swarmed like ants over my work. Problem is that I mistakenly thought that because I scored in the 99th percentile of every grammar test I ever took that my grammar was nearly impeccable. Now I know just the opposite is true. I don’t trust my grammar one little bit! My spelling is even worse. I do know that my best shots are never good enough, and if and when I write a book, I will need an EXPENSIVE editor!

            My hat’s off to you in your efforts. I think you are very talented, and that you will find your place among the great romantic writers. So hurry up and get this one out, and get busy on your next one! 🙂 tom

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  4. Thanks again, Marsha. English was always my best subject in school, but that was a half century ago! I have forgotten more about grammar and punctuation than most kids learn today, I think. (Sadly.) So I really need lots of reference books by my side to get me through my first edit. But I’m determined to clean it up as much as possible, and I’ll be re-learning stuff that will help me the next time.

    Thank you for the compliments, too. I’ll just be happy to find some readers who enjoy my book as much as I have enjoyed writing it. That would be lovely. And the next time around, maybe I can add a few more. It’s the DOING of it, after all these years, that is making me the happiest. And I’m already outlining my next one, now that you mention it. 😉

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  5. Congrats! and Good Luck! “hacking and trimming and pruning” are the perfect words for the start of the revision process.

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    • “Quick! Hide the machete and the flame thrower! She’s revising again!”
      😀

      And so goes the cry around here lately, accompanied by much shrieking and running. It really is a bloody process! GAH. Why didn’t I start this 40 years ago? Maybe I’d have honed the craft a bit by now. But it’s all part of the learning experience, and when doing it is as important to you as anything else, it’s all good. I’m on a journey, and I’m loving it.

      Like

      • Everyone starts their journey at different place. I’m right there with you.

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        • Well, good luck to you, my fellow traveler! There’s nothing else quite like writing, is there? And once you’ve tried it, it is impossible not to have a new-found respect for those who do it well. Heck, even for those who just do it, and somehow make it work for them. I look at books very differently these days.

          🙂

          Like

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