Friday, July 17, 2015

Surviving The Process (or a great new title for this blog)

The internet is full of advice for the newbie author.  Common grammar errors to avoid sits at the top.  It's a simple advice and yet, it's a modern tragedy, really.  These faux pas are so embedded in our daily life we don't grasp the mistakes anymore.   To boot, we go through the full realm of excuses to keep them:  it's allowed in casual conversation,  emails to friends are so forgiving, social media posts are quick expressions, etc, etc. etc.  But, honestly dear friends, even though most of us don't expect literary prose on a Facebook post, it would be nice if we all tried a little harder.  Put the old noodle to work and remember a difference exists between, their and there, and the reasons why...just saying.

Next in line is the "all important"  find a good editor.  No argument from me.  I'm a firm believer that authors cannot and should not edit their books.  The author is so close to the work, so emotionally tied to the piece that it's almost impossible to be objective, and know when a line, a paragraph, and even a full chapter has to go bye-bye.  This is closely tied to the strangest brain phenomenon ever—I challenge any writers out there to claim they're <g> exempt—the "unseen mistake, the phantom blunder".  Yes, I'm talking about the crazy typos, spelled correctly wrong words, repetitions, spelling errors (for those who forego spell check), the nasty traps the brain refuses to see.

A writer could read the same line, paragraph, whatever, again and again (I'm doing it right now) one hundred times, even, and just don't see them.  Then, along comes the editor's fresh pair of eyes and focuses on the damned thing as if I typed in blood-red ink.

I can't help but remember an old TV commercial for a stain remover product.  The poor guy at a very important interview is wearing a shirt with a food stain.  Every time he said a word, the stain spoke louder than him in an incomprehensible, annoying gibberish.  Obviously, that interview went south and the stain won.  Imagine now, submitting a manuscript without first running it through the editor's stain remover eyes.  I think we all get the picture.

Next on the priority list is the ever famous "writer platform".  This one gets really confusing, often I wish I had with me an old fashioned Cuban machete, just so I could slash through the jungle of well-intentioned suggestions easily and cleanly.  There's only one problem.  The last machete I wielded while trying to peel a long stalk of sugarcane at the tender age of eight years old, decorated my finger with such a deep gash,  I still wear the scar.  Thus, I've given up on those, and besides, I'm sure my local Walmart doesn't carry sharp machetes.

A presence on Social Media is a must, Facebook, Twitter, recently I learned about BingBing, write a blog and above all else: target your audience.  I would love to, and it is easier said than done. Unfortunately for me and my characters, I didn't write a novel that fits neatly into one genre.  When Matthew first appeared and commanded me to write, he didn't explain about genre.  He just said, "Here I am, this is our story, and you need to do this." So I did.

What was I thinking?!

 Yikes, double exclamation mark, I can almost hear my poor editor yelling at me.  I find myself in a quandary and the moment both marks fit.  You see the trouble I have is finding a bookstore shelf where Destiny's Plan would fit, a novel with a star-crossed romance that ends well, set in the 60's, during a half-forgotten war, with a few key characters who date back to yet another war, in Europe, before WWII.  Is it historical?  Absolutely.  Is it a romance?  It's a kick-butt, spicy love story, with the challenges of the era.

 To me, it seemed like a perfectly plausible storyline.  The literary agent at the receiving end thought I had lost my mind.  Yep, you see the picture here as well.  I belong to a very small, and disappearing group of writers who told a story without thinking about the market and dollar signs.

 My bad, and I'll have to live with the consequences.

I'll just go global, as big as I can, and target everyone, except those under eighteen <g> you're too young for this story and with a little luck, a few readers from every group will enjoy the saga.

So we get to the end of my speech, and the reason for today's post.  Before you create a Google+ presence think about it, long and hard, make sure you use the right email account for the process—the same goes for building a blog—because once it's done, it's absolute murder to get it undone.

Take it from me, in the past few days while I tried to fix the mess, I became unknown to my pages, my posts, and to my friends.  Hopefully, they will see me with kind eyes and reinstate me in their circles again.

Have a great weekend.  And if you are a friend, please be kind, forgive my moment of insanity, and add me back in.

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