I realized last night when I decided to go a little crazy and try a new look for a bit that there isn’t anything under the Writing page. There may be a couple of reasons for this. The first is, I think people can offer advice, and I think that’s what I’d planned to put here–FAQ’s from some of my favorite authors–no one can tell you how to write. People can give you suggestions, but if you keep writing, eventually you will develop your own style and your own voice. It’s just that it takes a long time to find it. Unless you’re one of those lucky young graduates who have just finished their MFA programs and are truly, disgustingly talented. 🙂 But most people have to work hard and for a long time to get to where they feel like they’re doing a decent job, and even then they still have occasional lapses into the “Oh my gods what I’m writing is terrible, I can’t believe I’ve written this long and what I’m doing still sounds like crap when I read it.” Um-hm. Or maybe that’s just me. But I don’t think it is. I’ve been writing for a long time and all I have to show for it are a bunch of folders on my desktop with different novels in them, a different folder for the one I’m working on now, which very well may be the end of me in the end. I still don’t have anything published except for what I’ve published myself. I was happy to publish it myself, and it’s what I’m going to do with the second one, hopefully having figured out some way to convert it to a Kindle friendly format (for free). One can dream. Last time, I paid $150, and now it’s gone up to $200, and I haven’t made enough to even remotely justify that.
From what I know, one of the most important parts of the process, other than to really try to polish your manuscript (truthfully, by the time I’m “done” sometimesI can’t tell anymore if it’s shiny or looks like a piece of sandpaper), is to edit, edit, edit, and then maybe edit again. If you can afford to get a professional editor, do. I have my MA in English Lit and I still wish I could afford a professional editor. I am fairly good and finding errors–wrong form of a word, misspellings, having left a word out. What I’m not so good at is the fact I constantly switch tenses. Sometimes I find it and fix it, sometimes it still sounds alright to me, so I don’t know. I start sentences with and and but, and so. When in doubt of grammar use my faithful friend the em-dash. I love those. You will find very few colons or semi-colons in my work, but enough em-dashes to swing at a large mammal and do some damage with (I suppose they are pointy on two sides). I do own a copy of Elements of Style, one with a nice silver dust jacket, and I’ve read parts of it for school and for trying to figure things out that have perplexed me for years–the whole lie/lay thing, for example.
What I do want to do, and will probably put up another heading for, is start a list of books that I personally like and think are good examples of well written books (with caveats if there are certain things that I know are stretching it). I’ve actually read quite a few lately.
Instead of dumping the writing page, I’ll keep it for now and try to find things I think look interesting. I did delete the pages with a lot of my own work on them. For one thing, the stats showed no one was looking at them, so I figured it was a waste of space to have them up there. The novel is for sale at Amazon (I know, I know, corporate giant, etc. etc.) but it’s $2.99 (I think I get $0.18. There really is no key with a cent sign on it anymore. It must have been the 6, who now does this: ^. We could go the way of Canada and get rid of the penny, I suppose. That makes me feel badly for the penny. They used to mean something. You could buy things with half a penny.
Speaking of Canada, I may be going up to Victoria over the summer, so I checked the exchange rate. It was absolutely even. Unless there was something wrong with my widget. Nope, not the widget. I can’t remember that ever happening before. So all that about Canadian books being more expensive, that’s all a rip-off now for the Canadians. That makes me feel badly. From when I worked at a bookstore and even before, I always noticed the Canadian price was higher. If their currency is going to be equal to ours, possibly better, is should reflect in that. They shouldn’t have to pay more simply because they’re on the other side of a border. Honestly. I can see it when there was a difference in the exchange rate, but now? Of course, this is in the midst of the price fixing battle on eBooks, one thing I am disappointed in Steve Jobs for setting up, and also for the big 5 in publishing for following. It used to be the eBook was the cheaper alternative, now sometimes they are more than the paperbacks. It’s crazy, and don’t get on the author’s case for it, unless they’re self-publishing, because if they’re being published by any of the f major houses, it’s the published setting the price, not the author. They have about as much control of it as you or I would. Unless you’re like J.K. Rowling and the eBook world was just evolving when she started writing, as well as the fact that things were handled a little differently in the UK, and she maintained the digital rights to her books. (as if she needs any more money, but hey…) The prices aren’t too bad, actually. I just checked–they start at $7.99 and go up to $9.99 for the thicker tomes, and you can get the whole plethora of them for $57.54. You can still look around and find used copies cheaper, but hey, some people prefer digital over the real books–Kindles, etc, do seem easier to carry around than some of the books I’ve had out from the library.
I think I should go. Tucker has this problem of deciding when I should get up. This morning it was almost 7, after I went to bed at 2:30, it being a weekend night and all, and he decided I should be up around a quarter to six, probably convinced I was late for work. He’s asleep in his bed again, job done (I’m up now, after all, just bleary eyed and considering returning to bed, but then I’ll sleep longer and feel like I’ve wasted time, which is an all too precious commodity since I went back to work). Spring break, at a week with two snow days the week before, was enough to get him used to us sleeping in , and then we had to confuse him by getting up early again. Poor guy. He definitely looks like he’s suffering over there in his nice warm bed. Oh, actually, he’s looking out the window, so he’s officially on guard duty. He has to protect us from neighboring cat Spanky, who keep trying to come into our house because his owner is currently gone and he’s feeling neglected. Not that I blame him.
OK. Maybe I will go take a little nap, now that he’s happily ensconced in the window and will possibly leave my glasses alone (his little trick is to try to knock them off the nightstand, and then I have to look for them them very carefully, because I can’t see them). Maybe not. I’m afraid if I go back to bed it will be more than a little nap and I’ll wake up at 10:30 or something. Yuck.
Anyway, not entirely sure what to do with Writing page, will figure something out.