Kat’s Manuscript Revival and the Denouemont

Greetings Reader,

Last week I mentioned that I was working for the Council as an ‘electoral canvasser’, the goal of which was to visit homes and verify the names of the residents against the electoral roll. According to the handout I received it’s an “interesting and rewarding job”. Mmmm hmmmm…..

It’s also a lot of walking.

Well, chasing up people who haven’t filled in their Council paperwork wasn’t the worse job I’ve ever done – at least I’m not sitting in an office – the last time I did that I got harangued for “making [the job] look too easy”. Surprisingly, menial labour and data input wasn’t exactly a challenge compared to my lunchtime spent creating the original material for my current project.

Back to the canvassing. I’m working a road and I come upon a housewife with her little boy and I introduce myself – she asks to see my I.D. card and I explain that although I sent the Council a current photo they seemed to have given me an I.D. card with my old picture on it (three years younger, no beard, long hair). This conversation drifts into topics like centralised computers and the inefficiency of bureaucracies, how the left hand doesn’t talk to the right hand (Council departments don’t seem to share and correlate data). When I explained that I was a part timer and my real job was writing fantasy it turned out that she too was a fantasy writer. We talked for about an hour (all part of customer service right?) and she explained that her manuscript had been dormant for a two years.

She’d let it rest and then just couldn’t get the impetus to go back to the beginning and start over on it. It can be tough, and I don’t doubt that it’s a common problem for writers the world over, to know that your work isn’t finished after putting all that effort in.

As I near the denouement of the draft, that grande finale! I too can feel that spectre hovering in the shadows. I’m sooooo close, one final chapter to shape out of the wet clay of my imagination etc etc….. But I know it’s not the end because there’s always more work to do despite my confidence in my own writing. It’s going to need to go through some rewrites, to be edited and proof read, to be checked for consistency and tightened up before being re-editted and rechecked. It’s just something that’s got to be accepted.

Of course, there is help at hand in the form of YouTube videos. Take the one I’ve posted below for example. It came up randomly in the side bar and after I’d given it a watch I took a section of my own work for a little test drive. Sure enough, there was tightening up to be done.

The question of whether your work is ever finished might be another matter entirely, but we’ll never arrive at that question unless we go back to the beginning and start over.

And this was what I hoped that Kat did,  that she got that old manuscript out and resume work on it. I’d like to think that our chance meeting was one of those moments where a random event or meeting might turn you around or inspire you. After all, who knows what masterpieces lay in the raw material that’s been stashed under a bed or that are lingering in digital purgatory, just waiting to be rediscovered?

We certainly shared the opinion that there were some real turds out there that had actually made the shelves, so if we believe that we can do better, why not give it a shot. What have we got to lose, right?

DJC

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Zero Point and The Self Publishing Dilemma

Salutations Reader,

Way back when in June I explained that I was working on a prequel for the simple reason that it filled in a narrative gap and allowed my work to be split into a much neater trilogy. As the months rolled on I’ve been hard at work getting it drafted before sending it out to the Chosen Few for test reading.

That point, delayed by working once more for the local Council, is getting ever so tantalisingly close now.

For me, this book has become a zero point, a sort of literary fulcrum that turns the corner on the past two decades of material that I’ve accumulated. All the character, plot lines and world building that has taken place in my imagination now lie as sketches along a path that I’m about to return down. There is no need to create anything new, it’s all there just waiting to be worked through.

So, forward and ever forward, returning as it were.

A similar sense came from finishing my work with the Council. I hated doing it, found it stressful but the money was a necessity. However, finishing was itself a similar feeling of something changing, that now this was over it was time to move on with my career. Now, I’ve never really been career minded, and that was perhaps a side effect of never working anywhere I thought was worth my time, but now I find that as I push to define myself as a writer I have come to think of it as a career. Importantly, the dilemma of how I go about bringing my work to the marketplace was spurred on by a video that I watched recently, and which in turn reminded me that one of the reasons I started blogging about what I was doing was to create an online presence.

With all my time spent working on the book, for the Council and other affairs I have only scratched the surface of how to proceed. What panicked me in this video was the idea that it might take four/five years to get published. So the question then became, if I self publish and I’ve got plenty of work then how far can I get on my own in that time. I could probably have published the whole trilogy in that time.

It was worth thinking about even though once I started watching other videos it might only be six months before a book gets published. You can’t tell until you start submitting, and suffice to say there are plenty of videos on Youtube all about it.

For the time being I’ll focus on finished, then we can talk about writing submissions – it’s going to be fun, doing all those things like writing your bio and your pitch.

So I hope you’ll stick with me and I’ll try to be a little more consistent with the blogging.

DJC