(3 March 2002, England) As Kim and Paul left the Sheffield pub, they noticed that a streetlight was burned out, creating a pool of darkness on the road. Unable to rein in their passion, they began to canoodle — consummate their relationship — on the asphalt outside the pub. Witnesses said the couple was lying right on the white line, kissing and cuddling.
The passionate pair were warned of the danger of their coital position not once, not twice, but three times — by a car driver, a bus driver, and a pedestrian. An off-duty paramedic honked and shouted, “You want to get up, otherwise you’ll be run over.” The man simply said “Cheers, mate,” and the paramedic heard a female laughing. A bus driver swerved to avoid them, and drove past with wheels on the curb. A concerned pedestrian shouted to warn them that another bus was headed their way.
Despite these disruptions, Kim and Paul continued, oblivious to the approach of a small, single-decker Nipper bus. The bus driver mistook the undulating shape for a bag of rubbish in the poorly lit street, and was unable to stop in time. There was a dull thud…
Kim and Paul were struck and killed at midnight. Paramedics found Kim lying on her back with her jumper pulled up, and Paul between her legs with his trousers pulled down.
The only downside to this timely removal of lunacy from the gene pool is the fate of the bus driver. Despite the couple’s irregular actions, and a police investigator’s statement that “to expect a driver to anticipate a pedestrian lying in the road is out of the ordinary,” a judge fined him for careless driving, and his license was revoked for six months. Fortunately, his employers consider him an excellent employee, and plan to give him other duties for six months. Relatives of the victims said they were glad the driver had kept his job.
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.
So, tell me what you think
1. “Do Unto Others” (short story) – Jeremy is a street hood, lawless and unchained. When he is wronged by a local businessman, it becomes his mission to seek revenge. But his new enemy has friends – ones that don’t take kindly to intruders.
2. “Colors” (short story) – Harrison Smith. attorney, biker wannabe, coward. When he finds the bike of his dreams, it seems too good to be true. It is.
3. “Simona Says” (novella) – Simona has had it rough. Death, disenchantment, and disappointment are all part of her life. She wants to be happy for a change, and she’s willing to do just about anything to find some. Anything.