Here and There and back again , the road to revisions

I completed my first full novel draft. I am beyond happy over finishing it , I am joyous. I am less than happy over the idea of doing revisions I am , what’s the word, scared shitless. The problem is that whilst I do believe that I have the ability to write  I  fear  after having poured a few tens of thousands words into a book that I will look at in and find that it is not only no good but that it is actively awful. I mean no redeeming factors , I am going to show it to an agent or publisher and I am going to be laughed at in an ugly fashion , told that I am the worst this to happen to the written word since reality TV and banned forever from all writing groups, societies and  unions that have been or ever will be , even if I start said group, society or union.

That will most likely not happen . I mean the odds are that it will not happen. I may not make any money. I may not find the wherewithal to complete the 3 books that will complete the story but I will likely not die of anything, be shunned, be shamed or feel the need to commit anything, suicide , myself , to a weird hair color. Most likely I will simply fill in the plot holes and deadly boring spots, do a second revision for length or content and be good. I am not saying that this is my magnum opus but I think that It at the very least , ok. and brings me to the point of today.

I am a crazy sick writer person , like many of you , I write and then I rewrite and then if you let me I will rewrite and research until what I have is a 60000 word polished turd. Not that it is my plan but if you are too precious about your writing , second and third and tenth guessing every single word and phrase choice you will eventually have something that no one , including you , want to read for pleasure. writing is a very private thing, and it is very personal but if you want to make a living at it  you have to be willing to have a good enough point . your beta readers will help with that . people who have the honor of reading your first polished draft , people who like your writing , and love or at least like you and are willing to be honest about the quality of your writing whilst ( I am using whilst today) refraining from saying things like ” don’t you think the dog could be a corgi , I had a corgi when I was a kid” kind of things.

when I started writing my novel and read all the books that I could about writing and they all said ” wait” X ” time before you start revisions” and I thought , I can’t wait I have to do it now. and now I have to revisit those said same books to hear ” but don’t wait too long because ”  basically you lose your story mojo. and having done three chapters of revisions so far with the help of “Rock Your Revisions” and a few tips from other people I have managed to do the first pass , make some notes and low and behold , I am not dead and my writing while not perfect is , at the very least , okay  . and for a first novel , a solid dose of okay is , at least, okay.

Public Writing


The ritual of writing in the library has its own positive and negative things that collate with it. There is the positive of being literally surrounded by proof that what I want to do is still alive and well.  When I look up at this moment I see the books, the classics that include Tennessee Williams, Eudora Welty and Kurt Vonnegut. I see the Mystery and Sci-fi, great books, and books that stretch the definition of literature to the very edge of what it can withstand.  There is the reality aspect of writing in the library, having physical books that you can do real research on, no offense to Wikipedia, but sometimes I need to feel a substantial and in real life reference book, if for no other reason than because it helps me to get my head on right. When you research online the rest of the online world is right there tempting you to become a failed writer.

Keeping in the realm of positive there is the ability to talk to an actual person if you want, oh you know, have a conversation or just, you know remember what the people in the world look like after the isolation that is required in the land of the novelist. There is the beautiful architecture of the outside world when you are at the library in the downtown area. There is access to music and film, the free Wi-Fi, the ability to borrow a computer if you don’t have a laptop or if you just simply do not want to lug it with you everywhere in the free world. All these things are bright and beautiful but there is a dark side to the library, I wonder if Ben franklin ever foresaw these problems.

First, the homeless. This is not a anti homeless rant , I promise but they do sometime congregate in the areas with outlets and some of there have a pungency that make it just a little difficult to write , or read , or think for me.  I accept that for many of the disenfranchised the library is a place that has bathrooms, heat, water and entertainment so I put them in because I am honest. If it is particularly hot or cold in Houston, the number of homeless rise to somewhat epic proportion but there is the option of getting a private room, which does somewhat negate part of the reasons that I come out but so is life.

Two, creepers. every once in a while I will look up and find that someone is staring , staring at me in a fashion that I can only describe as CREEPY AS FUCK . I mean that unblinking, I see you seeing me staring at you and I have no intention on stopping, kind of stare that I think is just unnatural. I mean whenever in my whole life , and the years are stacking up at this point , I was caught staring at someone , even if I was unaware that I was staring my natural inclination was to look away . There is an ingrained “Oh was I being creepy” alarm that goes off when you find yourself, you know, being creepy. But not these people. They stare. And just for the record I am not speaking of the homeless, many of whom are mentally ill and should be getting help but aren’t. No I am speaking of the regular old patrons. Regular old creeper patrons.

Lastly, and most disturbing of all, the public porn consumer. Hmmm…. How do I start? Ok. I know. I am not a prude. By a long shot.  I watch porn. I have been a porn watch since the average person on the screen would have some amount of pubic hair and you could not simply turn on your computer, tablet or fucking phone and call up some filth at will. No, I am the last generation of people that had to, HAD TO, face the shame of going into a video store and tell the nice person behind the counter that “yes I am a little disgusting. “If you bought your porn at the local video store, you could buy 400 other movies and bury your copy of assmasters #7, girls just wanna be stretched (I just know it’s out there) in the pile.  Or you could go to the adult book store, and hope you don’t meet anyone you know outside when you are coming back out with toe sucking for dummies or whatever you bought. But now there is porn everywhere. It is so easy to get porn now I have moment of panic whenever I Google search anything for fear of finding out about some new horrible porn. But this is still something that you should do alone. Or at the very least in private. If you are the type of man’s man that wants to watch porn with some of your buddies, I find it weird ,I will admit , that you want to be in a room full of erections but to each his own . But I do not want to. This is why the public porn consumer at the library always shocks me. Really dude? Really? You don’t see anything wrong with sitting across from another man, a stranger that is researching the effects of global warming or the cost of corn in Cambodia or cats that can sing or whatever and watch porn. Or even just open leg shots. I have seen people, men actually as I have never seen a woman do this, watch for hours. For hours! How can you watch sex for hours in a room full of strangers? HOW? I just have no idea. I can’t even watch to the end of a single scene once I am done with the porn. Once the sexual mania is off, and the orgasm is over I have no interest in the rest of the story! How oh lord how can you just stare blankly at the stream of naked people.  I’m sorry but I really don’t understand. Especially and most importantly in a public place. With people passing you and seeing that you are a dirty dirty human.

Post-holiday sidebar – Zealotry

I have recently been very disturbed at the idea and the prevalence of zealots in almost every belief system. Not what I would call true believeputsutse people that are blind believers and lambaste anyone that has a differing opinion.
This comes in the standard form of religious zealotry, political zealotry and what I’ll call social zealotry. From your standard bible thumper tThumper’t have a conversation about anything without mentioning Jesus to the political drone that decides anything from their political party is OK and everything from the other political party it is inherently wrong. These dangerous characters have been growing in number and volume. I remember listening to a woman that I truly suspect was lying and was less impartial as a journalist then she thanld have been who stated that when she was in the Middle East one of the women she spoke with talked of American peoples fear and sadness over losing children to war as if it was something unusual. She said thistoldrnalist that the woman spoke of being proud to lose a child to the cause he believed in, and th, if they lose a child they simply replace it. I upon later reflection really don’t believe that that is what the lady said first of all, and second of all I don’t know how we can stand up and say to the world that what they do is wrong and what we do is right. This woman spoke of losing a child who is a soldier to God ofd country and the reporter acted as if that was not exactly the way that Americans behave. So I’m left wondering if this reporter had an issue with this woman’s phraseology or just the fact that she didn’t agree with the God and country that she was willing to sacrifice her sons to?
Thtooe is also as I also, asa social zealotry that is growing in number. And often unfooften, unfortunately people who core beliefs, I agree with but for beliefs I don’t fully support. There is a woman’cannotthat I will not mention that takes the feminist this line to the point of near deification. They tout all things female and vilify all things male. But in that same vein, I have seen them roundly and blvein, Idemonize female sexuality if it is not shown and done in exactly the way that they decide it should be. This self same woman’s blog recently took the season opener of the HBO show girls to task over a sex scene that they decided was and I’m quoting dumb. The sex scene in question involved a 8 second exchange between two of the characters

involving analogous. I found the entire need to make an oddball wave a fury over this sex scene, both immature and not particularly feminist. The sex scene was just that a sex scene. The writer of the articles insistence that it was not sexy and that no woman would enjoy that was both self righteous and wrong. But in most cases when dealing with the other tree the belief that one can make a sweeping judgement for the entirety of humanity is par for the course. It has been my experience that trying to decide what anyone else would find sexy is an exercise in futility and should be avoided at all costs. In the last 20 years we have had news items about people that were into fur, a woman that was in love with the Eiffel Tower, a man that was sex to death by a horse and no less than two people that involved their own murder in an act of sex one of which also was eaten after the death sex.  Now in a world where so many things outside of the ordinary and in these cases somewhat far outside of the ordinary, exist to decide that being motorboated from behind is repugnant to all is at best ridiculous.

zealotry in all forms, though only allows for absolute on one side of the coin. It is impossible to discuss with a zealot the possibility that people of all types and walks of life, of all genders and races and religions are equally capable of being good or being evil. So what to do when faced with zealotry in all its forms. Well, in this particular case I have to borrow from Tina Fey, who says that when faced with racism or sexism or even really aggressive Buddhism just try to go over under or through said person. Because the last thing that you need to do when dealing with fervor to the point of madness  is to attempt reasonable discourse with this person. Simply put, just try not to become a zealot yourself. Loving something believing in it and doing your best to live by those ideals is great. Hopefully that thing that you love and believe is something with merit, but keep in mind that’s yours is not the only way. That there are fantastic and wonderful atheists in this world that you mean no harm and are good people. Remember that there are good fathers, good men and innocent boys that have nothing but respect for women. Remember that the principal tenants of the Muslim faith are those of peace and love just as they are in the Christian faith. We do have the ability as human beings to live with one another and coexist.

Plotting the Future

There is a school of thought that states that writing from a plot is somehow less. Some writers, Stephen King among them, feel that writing an outline or starting from a plot somehow diminishes the writing itself. And that may be true, for some people. I have always considered myself a pincer one of these people that sits down in front of the paper, the computer, the word processor, or the typewriter (I may not be young), and makes magic. The problem with all this amazing magic making often times it Peters into nothing. There are times when the story is going very well in the world is allowing me to write and then the world steps back in I am taking away from my writing and the next time I come back, I feel as if I have no idea what I was going for no idea where I was heading and basically like I’ve wasted 12 hours of my life writing nothing.
While I do believe and love the pure act of writing, sitting down and just allowing my mind to create whatever comes to mind that is not always a viable option for a novelist. If you are trying to create a whole world, for instance, it is often difficult to keep those things moving if you come to the page naked every day. I have adopted a new way of writing and honestly, this is working for me, but again writing is very personal. While I do love the Stephen King nonfiction book on writing, there are several places where Mr King and I disagree. Or just have a parting of the ways I should say. King clearly is a pantser, someone that believes in writing down everything in their mind and cleaning it up later. I love that. I love when I can do that. And so far as the writing gitself goes,I mostly do that. In other words I don’t plot sentences, but sequences and scenarios for me require a little bit of plotting. If I want to finish a book a story A work of any kind to endpoint.
For those of us who do believe in or need to plot there are some wonderful books and software that I would like to mention today. Your first draft in 30 days. I recently required this book during the latest NaNoWriMo and found it wonderful. Scribner, this writing software is a staple of the screenwriters, novelist, and writers of all types.
AAlso, Iwould like to mention something for those plotters that need a little pantsing. I also use write or die. For those that don’t know write or Die is a software package that helps to encourage speed and also if you’re like me and sometimes find it difficult not to revise your words while wwriting, whichoften also knocks you off of your muse, this is a great little mind saver.

Books on writing

There are books that I have been reading lately,  these are not about pleasure reading but the reading for the craft.  Oh… Did I say that,  yes,  I said the craft. 
I know that many people hate that,  see it as pompous or self indulgent.  It is a craft,  like anything else that you make,  and like anything that you make with your hands or your head,  or can also be art but first it is craft. 
I have just completed my first novel,  it is Sci fi and I am very excited about it.  Not because I think it’s amazing,  I don’t know if I do yet,  but because I managed to actually finish it.  The books that helped me with completing it are:
1. On Writing by Stephen King
This book is about the basics of writing,  the words,  the reasons and it’s also entertainment. 
2. Rock your writing series by Cathy Yardley.
A great nuts and bolts series to help with plotting and revisions. 
3.  1500 per hour by N. P. Martin.
Another good book for what ever junk is stopping your words. 
These books helped me to stop dickering and just do the damn thing.  I am grateful for the push and the kick in the pants.