You’ve written what you hope is the next “Carrie”, have a cover that could have been fashioned by Michelangelo, and only a couple tasks remain.
First comes editing. Oh no, you think…anything but that. Who wants to edit? Sit hunched over a keyboard for endless hours, spell-checking, punctuating, and making sure you didn’t use “their” instead of “there”. Or that someone who was 35 and blonde two chapters ago is suddenly 21 and a redhead. Are there actually folks who enjoy this? I surely don’t.
Which is exactly why editing is far harder than writing. Not by virtue of bottom line effort, but rather because it’s so – boring. I mean, lookit, you’ve just returned from a sublime journey through a world where midnight dwellers with foot-long teeth have decimated the entire population of Houston, and now you have to actually work?
Yeah, you do. And not only you do, but you better. ‘Cause without all the spelling, grammar, punctuation and factology (my word, stay away) correctimundo, great writing is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. Not only will readers not finish it, they won’t peer around in earnest for any more of your scribbling, either.
I design and draft commercial properties and residential neighborhoods in my other, less glamorous existence. I do it like thousands of other guys do, using the same software, same type of computer, and so on. So the only thing I have to sell is one) my timeliness and accuracy and two) the quality of my product. And trust me, the beauty of the drawing has much to do with the perception of whomever is ogling it at the time. If it looks like a bunch of spaghetti spilled on the kitchen floor, then I don’t care if it’s accurate enough for NASA, someone is going to think it’s a shitty drawing. Period.
So it is with books. Plot and characters go right out the window as soon as someone sees “It was simpel; Darian just couldn’t bring himself to reveal there identity.” you, my friend, are in File 13. I’ve seen in – alot – and recently too. Why would anyone, anyone, anyone go to all the trouble, the hours, the sweat, the nail chewing blank stare what the hell comes next why can’t I come up with the ending crap, and then decided to just skip the finishing touches?
Do yourself a favor. Finish your writing, and then hand it to someone else. Preferably a few someone else’s. Even more preferably not a friend, acquaintance, or business partner. No one that owes you money, who answers to you at work, or is waiting for your vote for Imperial Grand Poobah of the Knights of Elmer Fudd. Petition a few fellow scribblers, ask them to look it over – and be savage about it. Circle, highlight, and draw a line through every misspelled, misused, and mistook word, every phrase and nonsensical sentence, and all plot spots that drew there eyebuggers together in confusionundrum. And when you get the lists, look at each and every one of the endearing items and change as needed. Then put their respective names in your book with thanks. They built it too, right?
It’s called work – and there’s not a best-seller out there that wasn’t hard work.