Monday, August 4, 2008

Paperback Writer with Too Much Time On My Hands

I really couldn't decide on what to call this post today, because both titles seem to be quite appropriate for me.

Each one aptly describes a particular state of being when one is a writer, whether doing it full time (Paperback Writer) or doing it part time (Too Much Time On My Hands).

In my case, being a paperback writer is what I want to be. To be able to churn out dozens of books like Nora Roberts or Stephen King and become a cottage industry unto themselves is really a remarkable achievement, and it's a very worthwhile goal to shoot for. I can't say I'm a fan or critic of Nora Roberts, simply because I've never read her stuff, so it would be unfair of me to make that kind of judgment about someone. As for Stephen King, there are only a couple of books I like by him, The Dead Zone being my favorite (The movie with Christopher Walken while good, doesn't strictly stick to the book, and the t.v. version is something to be ignored), and I do look forward to reading his monthly columns in Entertainment Weekly.

But since this blog is about me and my writing, the reality is that I'm doing this part time, thus I have way too much time on my hands for my own good.
To update everyone on the status of my book. I had sent the galley back with a list of about 17 of the more egregious errors that I had made in the manuscript. Overall I found about 30 or so, but these 17 I deemed to be the most essential for correcting. So I'm waiting to get the 2nd galley back in order to proof it. Also with the cover, I approved that, but after giving my OK on it, I discovered about a week later, that an essential word was missing from the back cover. While it can be inferred what the sentence really means, in essence I screwed up. I did fix for a few other items I got coming, but suffice to say, being the perfectionist I am (and you have to be in self-publishing), I really am upset with myself. A valuable lesson was learned, which I will apply next time.
So, because the wheels of publishing turns incredibly slow (by my choice), I find myself with a lot of down time these days.

And what have I done to occupy my time, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. I'm doing three different versions of one story to keep myself occupied. I'm a relatively unconventional person, in that I love a challenge in no matter what it is I happen to do.

The first version is what you good people have been reading here for the past month or so. This was the original version that I wrote back 2006, when my output was something to be admired. I spent part of last year cleaning it up, entered it into a few contests, then decided to put it on the shelf for most of this year. I dusted it off last month when I needed some material to back up what I was writing about on this blog.

The second version of this short story is the basis of my second novel. While I was shopping my first novel around for most of 2007, I needed something to do while waiting. Since most of the writing related books I read at the time suggest that one should keep writing, I did. I took my short story and began to flesh it out. In keeping with my particular writing style, which is to write at least two distinct and separate plot lines, I have managed to write about 8 complete chapters, and I'm now up to where this story actually starts at: the swimming pool.

Finally, the third version of this story, which is what I'm doing now, is more cleaning and tightening up. With some expansion as well, because I want to eventually publish this as a chapbook.

So in essence, I'm rewriting the same story three different ways: as a long term post, as a novel and as a chapbook.

This my friends, is what truly happens when you have way too much time on your hands.

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G. B. Miller

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