clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Friday, July 18, 2014

E-Ticket Ride

That's right. My writing is an e-ticket ride!

At left, the ride. Sigh.

I write something that seems huge. It has twists and turns and words and music. It is wonderful.

I come back six months later and it resembles a deflated pool toy blown under the boardwalk at season's end.

That's good. It means I'm getting better. It means that I am learning to read like a writer. It means I'm tuning my bullshit detector. [ Hemingway term].

I belong to a critique group that sees some pretty raw stuff (online). I've had to step back several times. When someone passes on your work - means the same thing. They can't figure out where to start.

If something I write seems cleaver or witty or a simply stunningly beautiful aside - I leave it out. If it has a chain of modifiers attached (see previous sentence), I leave it out.

When I re-write, I leave a lot on the floor. Sure, I shoot a lot of film. Not a lot makes it past the assembly stage.

So, I think as I crawl into bed that I've done something cool and clever tonight. That's why we put things in the can to age.

In six months, I'll cut out the contrived parts, tighten the dialogue, ax the description, excise an entire scene with a two-sentence narrative summary, and put it back to cool for the next draft.

Painful? You bet.

Last week I talked to a writer friend and he asked if I thought I could proceed without the outline and heavy revision? Sure, in book eleven.

I've bought garbage - some from people I consider friends - that needed two more full passes. Book six for them doesn't look like book one at all.

Of course, they're much better with that bitch Luck than I am. They muddled through to six while I went and made a different career and now ... catch-up for my skills.

I won't get six books to make it work today. I'll get one. Doesn't sell? No book two. Better a different book one from someone else.

I like that. I like baseball.

The .178 hitter at the plate knows everyone in the stands knows he's a .178 hitter. Rookie doesn't see .240 - well. Get a new rookie.

Baseball expansion has given a shot to a lot of players that ought to have ended their days dreaming of AAA ball. Publishing has done the same.

If you print thirty good books, why are you interested in sixty that stink?  That's where it is going.

No one make the business shoving garbage into the market for long - well, it took a long time for it to catch-up to GM, I'll give you that.

E-ticket ride is what we want on the cover of our work. There's work to do, pony riders. Craft work.

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