I dreaded the prospect of another book, though my story left off with the obvious potential. I have other projects at the forefront, notably getting THIS one out to the masses. My goal is to get it to enough masses to pay off a couple of bills and get a new laptop and get a new sofa and a couple of other little goodies for the house. That doesn’t sound like a huge amount, but that would mean a few thousand people reading my little story.
In between my ego exercises, I have also been coaching a friend through her own writing quest. Let’s face it, when you write a book it is a supreme step forward for the ego. We assume as authors that we have something worthwhile to say and that other people will want to pay to read it. When it comes down to it, that’s a pretty hefty bit of conceit. From the perspective of a reader, I am investing both my time and money in an idea, really. Will the story be worth the time to read, and worth the money I paid to obtain it? Will I reread it until the cover is worn and dog-eared? Will I read it once and give it away? Will I give up after the first chapter and never open it again?
My friend’s story and mine have a few elements in common, but they would be considered very different genres. As we go, it’s more than simply correcting grammar and spelling. We use each other as sounding boards, bouncing ideas and concepts along with ways to rephrase an awkward sentence or restate a misused term. We’ve talked about what this character or that character would or would not do. We also talked about breaking out of the proverbial box, particularly in her case.
She has a series of stories already mapped out, each its own discrete concept but all interconnected. Any one is too small for a standalone book, but the body of work is so big it absolutely has to be split up over more than one volume. I pointed out that she could group two or three into a book, depending on the individual lengths. Nora Roberts has re-released abridged versions of her longer works into collective volumes, works that are often unrelated except for a generic theme like western vs. historic romance. I have seen a couple of authors that employed similar patterns where the stories were connected, too, but it’s rare. However for her target audience I think it would be a good pattern and I know it’s a good match for Lisagh’s work.
While we were going over that, via instant messenger, I bemoaned that my own story begs a continuation, but I had no clue how I would ever take it forward. I started outlining all the reasons I would have to be careful – this couldn’t happen because thus, and when thus happened it meant X, and X led to Z. And so on and so on and about halfway through the conversation we both cracked up, because I had outlined a good part of the sequel. I am not planning to write it this instant, mind you, but is it there at the periphery of my imagination? Yeah. It’s there and it’ll probably nag me as much as the first one did, right up until I commit it to words. I’ve even got its working title and a folder all prepared on my computer. Go figure.
In the meantime, I’m still hammering through some of the dotted t’s and crossed eyes in my story. Thanks to the gracious assistance of l’empress there are considerably fewer overt gaffes, but I have found a couple of minor ones along the way (three sets of eyes missed one set of double words for example) and I did a rewrite in a couple of spots where the language needed tweaking. VERY small changes this time, though. Rereading the story I still see gaps, but where before I viewed them as gaping plot holes, I now read them as more impetus for a continuation of the story.
Problem is, I have the correct format, then don’t have the correct format. I fix it and it reverts. I came to discover that when I use Open Office and save to .doc format it strips away a great deal of the parameters I set for spacing, etc. Repeatedly. So I am probably going to have to bite the bullet and install MS Word on this laptop. Just one more niggling little pain in the ass that needs to be done before I can throw this out there to be sliced and diced up as literature. It means I can’t do any more editing until I get it installed, because literally all I have left is the formatting of the actual document – spacing, indents, etc. And because of all the saves and over-saves and re-saves, I’m going to save the document in naked text before copying it over, which also strips out my italics, ergo I get to do ALL formatting, all over again.
That’s not a bad thing either, because (thank you again, l’empress!) it was also in dire need of fixing. It just means more time.
The only remaining quandary is/was my book cover. Did I mention my co-conspirator via instant messenger is also an extremely talented painter? She agreed to create my cover for me. We were talking about what each of our covers should entail, and it morphed into her creating the custom artwork for both of us. She is jazzed about the entire idea now, as much so as I’ve become.
So we’re finally down to the wire. I thought I’d have this thing up for sale by now if I went via the self-publish route. Obviously that didn’t happen. Still and all, on rereading my work I’m actually pretty happy with it. I started with the cliché and did my best to throw in some things a bit more off the beaten path. I tried not to become too predictable. Hopefully I succeeded along the way, enough so that others will buy, read and enjoy the journey.