Friday, January 22, 2010

With a Little Help From My Friends…

better Monkey-typing Being a writer isn't hard. You sit down at your computer and start stringing words together. Words become sentences, sentences become paragraphs, and paragraphs become scenes. If you're writing a novel, put enough scenes in a semblance of order and there you have it - a manuscript.

If you're game, you can do some revising, some editing, some polishing. If you get bored, you can always go outside and play. Maybe you'll return to your work. Or not.

What will you do with that work? You can show it to others if you want. Or you can keep it tucked away somewhere safe, in a folder or a secret file on your laptop. It all depends on what kind of writer you want to be. There's nothing "wrong" with writing solely for yourself. Millions do.

It's entirely up to you.

But if your dream is to become a published writer, things get a little tougher. Somewhere along the way, it won't all be up to you. Others will read your work, and various members of the publishing food chain will provide input (some solicited, some not!).

Family members, workshop participants, critique group members, writing instructors, agents, editors, marketing experts, cover designers, publicists, and many others will pony up their ideas, comments, suggestions, corrections, additions, creations, alterations, and inspirations. All with (hopefully) a single goal in mind: to make your work stronger.

In my case, this is a GOOD thing.

I consider every comment and suggestion (although I don't agree with many of them, I consider each one). I think I come up with some pretty good ideas on my own, but I know for a fact that other people's ideas are often better. If I can be the beneficiary of their clever ideas (and best intentions), then that's a GOOD thing.

I'm not shy about stealing good ideas making changes; I can use all the help I can get!

That's why I'm glad I'm with a publisher like Midnight Ink. They know what they're doing.

Some evidence:

The title of HIDDEN FACETS (my original title) was changed to DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD. Verdict: much better.

The title of THE LAST LAFF (my original title) has been changed to KILLER ROUTINE - A Last Laff Mystery. Verdict: much better.

Like I said, change can be a very GOOD thing.

(This entry is “simul-posted" on InkSpot.)



Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Ooh...I like "Killer Routine." Very nice--and ominous!

Mystery Writing is Murder
Mystery Lovers’ Kitchen

Galen Kindley--Author said...

The part where you begin to lose control of your where it gets dicey. I can find a million reasons to not send the query. But, for anything you've written to see the light of day...gotta suck it up and query.

Yep, changes are part of the game. Depending on the circumstance, they, too, are a loss of control. For example, I'm going through edits right now with my publisher. Most are good, some are "bleh," either way, and others, well, she's the boss.

Best Wishes Galen.
Imagineering Fiction Blog

Elspeth Futcher said...

In my experience writing my games, a title with "Death" or "Murder" or the equivalent always sells better than a title without. Look at your title changes. Hmmm.


Alan Orloff said...

Elizabeth - Yes. Ominous. Mwa ha ha!

Galen - Control is overrated. In my life, the "shes" are usually the bosses. I'm good with that.

Elspeth - You are very wise. Maybe my next title should be "Death by a Murderous Killer."

Elspeth Futcher said...

I AM wise. Why does everyone have such a hard time remembering this? Geesh. ; )

Stephen Parrish said...

I've learned to seek criticism from the beginning, even when all I have is a sentence describing my project.

Alan Orloff said...

Elspeth - I have NEVER forgotten how wise you are. And how wise-cracking your sheep are.

Stephen - I'd be happy to oblige, and I don't even need one sentence. Your next project stinks.

Just kidding! I'm looking very much forward to THE TAVERNIER STONES in May.

Lorel Clayton said...

Don't you just hate it when someone has a better idea? I write with my husband so I'm used to the four stages: 1) anger that he's questioning what I wrote; 2) denial and certainty that he's being an idiot; 3) the dark cloud of realization--maybe he's right and I'm the idiot; 4) acceptance that this is a much better way to do it and I knew it all along.