Sunday, March 22, 2015

Transitions of a Writer

When I started writing, I really just wanted to see if I could publish.  I wanted to see my name on a book.  I hadn't written much since I had graduated College some 20 years earlier.  It is horrible how such drilled in skills slowly deplete over time.  I didn't think I needed an editor.  I didn't think I needed a proof reader.  After all, I was an English Major.  The twenty years or the fact that once you have read a work over and over to the point your brain sees what should be there were totally lost on me.

I was happy with the two or three sales a day.  People were reading me.  Then suddenly, my book took off in the UK.  People willing to forgive the lack of a proof reader were giving it high ratings and even those pointing out the need of editing were still liking the story.  Amazon gave a stipend to quickly get it into audio.  Unfortunately, by the time that it sunk in and I had read enough other blogs from writers that I needed an editor, Amazon had whisper-synced the audio.   So over time I am finding errors that won't take it off whispersync like homophone errors.  

That is the most distressing to me.  I create and type at such a speed that despite knowing exactly the right homophone and where a question mark goes, my rapid firing fingers and brain grab the first one that comes to mind.  Of course, a spell checker doesn't find those.  I assure you, I know when to use than and then, they just.. interchange on my fingers.

I began second book based on the success of the first.   Anyone paying attention can see the growth in my writing and improvement in my writing skills. I hired a proofreader I could afford and my editor - Alex -was growing with me.  It was at this time I found out I had cancer.  Getting the book out became a major focus when I was not doing chemo and battling the disease. 

 Robin Chambers, an excellent writer in his own right, offered to give it a final proofing. I am not sure why he first offered, the cancer.. my struggles.  All I know was that I was grateful.  With his help, the book rose to a much better threshold.  You can find Robin here:  
Despite chemo's relentless side effects, we got this book out.  

Feedback was even better for this book.  The only negative feedback, for the most part,  was that it took a dark turn.  Those seeking constant battle and action were quick to point out that this is a high fantasy.  

So I started book 3, Bloodmines.  There was a contant clamor for it.  But I was so sick and it was hard to write.  As I wrote it, I realized I had two choices... take a long time getting it out or make it a short quick read as a transition.  I listened to readers and lightened it up.  Alador meets and interacts with dragons.  Keensight's humor is evident.  The impact of Henrick's secret is revealed.  

I got it out only a few days after the date I had promised and that was only due to a formatting issue. Robin Chambers stepped up again and gave it a final edit. That is why the dedication is to him on the final pages. 

 I was in for a huge surprise.  Negative feedback was that it was too light.. to silly... not enough intrigue and depth.  Opposite of the feedback of Blackguard.  Needless to say, I was confused.  My content editor, Alex Hunt,  pointed out that in life, there is no way I can make everyone happy and this was true of writing as well.

So.. the final transition as of this date.  I have finished Chemo.  For now, cancer is in remission.  And I am going to write what I want to read.  I am going to make Pseudo-Dragon the book I wanted Bloodmines to be following The Blackguard.  Bloodmines is a good story, don't get me wrong. It is a light easy read with dragons, intrigue and throws out a new twist.  But this day forward, I am going to write what I wish I could read.  Hopefully, my fans will appreciate that much more than me switching up my style to make a "few" readers happy.  

Headed to Modesto for the week.  See you all on my facebook or here.