Monday, November 4, 2013

Writing With Confidence.

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A few successful experiments in writing breeds confidence.

Over the course of time, that confidence becomes unshakeable.

I’m just in the process of finishing up the first draft of my twelfth novel. It’s at 56,000 words and I’m shooting for 60,000+.

It’s an interesting feeling, one preggers with hope and satisfaction. At the same time, I still need a cover for the book. It will be gone through a few times, as I check for errors of time and place, making sure all the names are correct, fleshing out room descriptions, character descriptions, decribing more fully the exterior places, and all that sort of thing.

It is a process.

There is this feeling of accomplishment. I totally controlled this book from start to finish, and it will end up at the exact length I projected. It’s more linear, smoother than the first two, (certainly the first one) and it pays more attention to tropes and conventions of the genre.

My last half dozen books have been like that, in that they all had a certain pace and came in where I wanted in terms of word count.

Lately I’ve been writing clean copy. It flows well enough, with some nice cadences in places. The Maintenon mystery series books do have a unique feel and voice to them. They are different in tone from much of what is out there and available to readers, as written in English by native English speakers. I had fun writing them, and it really is a kind of parody.

Set in 1931, this particular mystery involves the murder of an old woman, not rich but well-off, and as a writer there is the pleasure of learning about the era. The research into another time and place can be fascinating and educational. I am becoming comfortable writing about it, bearing in mind no personal knowledge of France, or Paris, or anything else. I know little of police work and have never investigated a murder.

In some weird sense, to set out to write a certain kind of novel is an adventure. No adventure would be complete without some effort, some sacrifice, one where you dig down deep inside and scrape the bottom of the barrel, just to keep going sometimes. This book required some stretch on the part of the author, if only in the discipline—writing day in and day out and keeping the project alive and moving forwards is half the battle.

There is that feeling that one has overcome all obstacles, and in that sense writing a book is a character-building experience in more ways than one. Writers are creative, resilient people, with a rich stock of personal attributes, including persistence and a willingness to take a few risks.

Otherwise we could never even finish writing a book.

To me, I think, the story is everything—and throwing aside all mundane considerations of a professional, or business type nature, there is such a thing as the art of storytelling. To master than art, in the form of the written word, well, that is my goal.

To look back, is to see progress, and to look forward, is to see infinite possibilities, although time is precious.


For the Maintenon series, bearing in mind my ongoing program of upgrading the marketing images, now would be a good time to get new pictures for the three books and the original novella. This will cost a few bucks and I can only put it on my credit card.

One thing I know for sure, I don’t really want a skull on the cover of a series that might go to twenty books or more, assuming I live that long and one new mystery a year.

This one needs formatting, ISBN number, and all of that. New covers take time to design. Barring unforeseen computer explosions, the book will be published in a couple of weeks.

“There’s many a slip ‘tween the crouch and the leap,” as my old sabre instructor used to say; which you can find in some old George Macdonald Fraser novel.

As for Maintenon Mystery # 3, I don’t even have a title yet.

Now that’s just sad, ladies and gentlemen!

For the Maintenon # 3 book I wrote 28,869 words in thirteen days, Sept 1-13, and then set it aside while I did other things. I upgraded numerous marketing images, put together three short story collections, published a few short stories, kept up submissions and blog posts.

There is the artistic, creative side, and then there is the business side. The business side can be creative as well, it’s a matter of seeing certain opportunities and then doing the work.

An example: with my new browser showing me things I couldn’t see before, and doing things I couldn’t do before, what are the odds that now I can complete the Canadian tax information on the Omnilit book publishing platform? As an independent author, I want to be on as many platforms and in as many stores as possible. Kind of a no-brainer.

It’s like there’s never enough time in the day, and yet day by day, and in every way, we just keep getting better and better.

I suppose I have an unfair advantage. I don’t have a spouse and three kids, I’m not dragging them off to grandma’s for Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving. I’m not taking them to Mexico or Florida for a week in the winter and I don’t have to worry about summer vacation. I don’t have a big fancy house and lots of landscaping to look after, nor do I have two cars, a trailer, motorcycles, a boat and scuba or fishing equipment to look after or just move out of the way when I want something.

To those who say we are not in competition, I say, you know yourselves best. You know your own circumstances, and your own potential better than I ever could.

All of our circumstances are different, and to be jealous of someone else is a waste of my time.

To be spiteful towards them is to reveal our innermost insecurities.

Que sera, sera.

To those who say you can’t write a good novel in a weekend, I suspect you are right, but then neither one of us has ever tried.

This is why I really don’t have much of an opinion on traditional publishing: because I’ve never done it.

How could I possibly speak intelligently on the subject?

It doesn’t seem very likely, does it?

And anything they have to say about me is irrelevant, and most likely fatuous in the extreme.

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