Monday, January 18, 2010

Myths about writing

This past weekend I spent much time working on the book. That's right, I'm still working on it. Why? Well unlike what has been shown in the media, writing the book is only one part of working on the book. And that gets me into the subject of my post today - myths on writing.

First a book - a full novel - CANNOT be written in one sitting. I am sure that besides myself there are thousands of writers out there that wish it can be done in one sitting. I was watching a story on J.K. Rowling and in it they had said that it took her six years to write the first Harry Potter book. SIX YEARS!!! And I thought that two years was a long time for my first book. I've seen the myth portrayed in movies several times. You watch the whole movie and in the end the main character sits down and over night has a three hundred page manuscript of the story. That my dear friends is bullshit.

Here is another myth that I caught on that piece on J.K. Rowling. In it they said that she locked herself in a hotel room for an extended period (not sure if they actually said how long). But at the end they show her finishing off the last of the last chapters of the last book. Sorry to say people, you just don't "finish". There is no "THE END" and your done with the book.

Nope. That is just the beginning. My first draft of my book took me 15 months to write. I finished the last line of the last page and thought "I'm done". Man was I happy - until a week later when I read what I wrote. OMG! It sucked! The idea was there, but it was far from being a story. Even at 303 pages I knew it needed a lot of work. The result is a nearly complete rewrite of the entire book. That took until last week. Nine months after I started the rewrite. I compiled the book into a pdf for people to read - its now 505 pages. Okay, so the size is irrelevant. I am not disillusioning myself this time. I know that I need to edit, but as I read through the book this time, I think that it now looks like it should have the first time.

But the point still remains - there is no "I'm done" to writing. There is always the next step. Even Rowling wasn't done there. She had to sit down with an editor and go through the book again. Which leads me to the next myth. Or at least what I think is a myth - one I hope to prove with my book. An author does not sit in a conference room in a chair next to an editor and go through the book page by page making corrections. OMG! that would be painful. And her books aren't small. I am sure it took several days or weeks to edit through the book. Then I am sure that there are the bickering back and forth between editor and author about sentence structure or some technical crap like that. Oh how I long to get to that point....

My point is that writing a book, at least in my experience, is not what you see on television or in a movie. Writing a story - a full length novel - requires a massive amount of work and a long term commitment. Is it worth the time and effort?

I hope so.

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