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Difficult Stuff (and Crocodiles)

March 22, 2012

This is going to come as a shock to you.

Sit down.

You’re reading this on a computer screen, so I’m assuming that you’re sitting. Never mind.

Here’s the shocking bit: writing is not all roses and song.

I know.

I’ve heard male writers (not me, I like being alive) refer to it as analogous to a woman giving birth: there’s lots of pain and screaming, but at the end you have something to show for your effort that you can be proud of.

There are multiple problems with the analogy, of course, not the least of which is that it makes women want to slap you upside your fool head. I don’t have enough women in my life that I can afford to alienate them like that.

I had a point. Ah, there it is, hiding under all the words. The point is, writing is difficult. There are easy parts, like there are easy parts to everything. Even crocodile dentistry has its easy, pleasurable bits (most likely the parts having nothing to do with the crocodiles). Writing has its wonderful moments, where you’re flying along and not worried about plot or word count or crocodile insurance or anything else. Even the parts where you wrestle with theme and stuff can be fun.

For me, though, the re-writing is a bitch. If you read some of my earlier stories, I’m ashamed to say, you’ll see that.

I’m not big on re-writing. Some people say “writing is re-writing,” and while I’m not going to throw overt abuse their way, I will think nasty thoughts at them. Re-writing, the editing process as a whole, is a vital part of writing. Initially, it’s easy to see your finished rough draft as a masterpiece. This is particularly easy when you haven’t been writing long, and honestly, I haven’t been writing that long, at least not professionally. I know enough to know better than to throw my first draft out there, though.

What I’ve been doing is, I’ve been teaching myself to do minimal rewrites. When I edit, I start at the beginning and go page by page, line by line, and fix the stuff that doesn’t make sense. Really, that’s all editing is: making sure that what you write is clear enough. It’s like clearing the crocodiles out of a swamp to make a lake. They do that to swamps, right? I just realized that I hadn’t thrown a crocodile in there for a while.

Right. Editing. So I go through, catch all the typos, fix things like sentence structure, execute most of my commas (the commectomy has to be half of my editing cycle), and make it look like the story was written by a person with a nodding acquaintance with English. Then I go through it again and fix things like plot points (fuck, the crocodile bit his left leg off, dammit!) and other details to make the story work better. Then I publish that sucker.

Am I perfect? Allow me to spend a moment laughing here. I have many faults as a writer, and I’m even aware of some of them. But I’m better than I was when I started publishing in August. I’ll be better this time next year, and the year after that. I’ll probably be making more money, too, but we’ll see how that goes.

I want to thank my audience, by the way. Each month that I’ve been writing has been better, sales-wise, than the month before. February was by far my best month ever, and I finally broke the $1000-in-one-month mark, domestic. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am at that, and it’s all because of you guys. Thank you, and I plan to keep writing weird erotica for the foreseeable future.

Checking my work:

Since my last post, I’ve put up two short stories and a bundle of shorts.

Shamrock Delight is my St. Patrick’s Day story. Michael wakes up in the body of an incredibly hot redhead and has to figure out what the hell happened. The last thing he remembers is going into a bar on St. Patrick’s Day, two days ago.

Granted is my newest story. John visits a company called Wishes that promises to grant his wish (for true love) as long as he helps Wishes grant two other wishes from other clients. He agrees, and soon finds himself helping with a bank robbery…as the extremely female distraction.

Finally, my newest bundle is Further Variations, which collects Absolute Ecstasy, Changing My Channel, Changes of Heart, Shamrock Delight, and A Desire For Dragonfire under one cover.

A few housekeeping things: I’ve changed the cover of More Variations just a bit, because I always sort of hated the original one. I also changed the title of the collection “Looking Sideways At The World.” It’s now Additional Variations, with a different cover, but the contents are still the same as they were.

Next story is gonna be Silken Jane, though it will appear in a fairy-tale erotica collection first. I also have a fun short about shirts that change people, and that Weird West story that took a variety of strange turns. I also have the body swap story…okay, novella to edit. Bleh. You know how I adore editing things.



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