This week has caused me to step back a little and consider the whole “writing” thing. Nah, not as to whether I should or shouldn’t, but just my path thus far and all. I mentioned just this week that I’d joined a critique group—the critiques began this week and it has been very interesting to read what’s been said.
Also, a writer friend of mine read the first batch of pages, made comments (some very good and helpful ones), and then said they’d wait until the revisions were done to keep reading.
And I thought, but wait, I’m not about to revise that yet (it’s already been through about a dozen revisions, but I didn’t mention that!). And then I got worried about how that would sound. And so I started thinking about how I’d handled my writing for the last 20 years.
I’ve been very fortunate to have sold about 85% of everything I’ve written. Oh sure, I have a handful of projects such as that Planet of the Apes mini-series, an Arrow/Miss Fury one-shot, and a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles story that didn’t see print. The first two not because the publisher didn’t “like” them (they did—and I still have the correspondence to prove it!), but because they changed their mind regarding the marketability after we’d initially talked about it. The Apes project in particular, I’d been talking with the publisher and then they decided to halt it—because the Ape market had become saturated and titles weren’t selling as strongly as before. The Turtles is a different story, but I won’t go in to that here. (Yes, I’d STILL like to see it published!)
So, the reality is that I write…and I move on.
Even when I wrote for and edited the newspaper, stories HAD to go. It’s not the kind of biz in which stories sit around and go through dozens of drafts.
When I decided I wanted to try my hand at novel-writing, silly me, just thought I’d not break stride. After all, many of the novelists I enjoy reading often produce more than one novel a year. So I started Buying Time while working as an Instructor at UNA. I finished it after the department downsized me. I started The Gifted while working as the editor of The Piggott Times. I finished it after the publisher released me. Now, I’m writing scripts (for which I’m being paid) for graphic novels and am working on Novel #3. It all just makes sense to me and what kind of writer I am.
It’s not that I don’t revise or rewrite. I believe I’ve even said it in this space as well—I do! Considerably! But I do so both as I write and immediately after finishing. But what I try to do is put a “period” at the end and then move on. IF, as has happened with my novels, I’m fortunate enough to get someone to read and comment, I don’t run back and revise because—quite simply, I’ve got to “schedule” it.
Ah—see, there’s the thing. I’m a scheduler. That’s part of what made me a pretty decent comic book editor. I like for the trains to run on time.
My critique group is reading The Gifted a few chapters at a time. I don’t know if any of them read my blog or not—doesn’t matter, but I’m not going to go revise chapter at a time based on their comments. What I WILL do is wait until they’ve read the entire thing and then collect the notes and revise the entire work based on what they’ve said.
Part of it, too, may be because I tend to run one train at a time. I’ve had friends tell me one of the characteristics they like about me is that I doggedly see something through till the end. I reckon I have a problem doing something else. Wait—I can write comic scripts and a novel simultaneously, but I have a hard time keeping 2 novels stories straight. I have to be fully immersed in it as I try to live it-breath it-be it. Else, a character from one novel starts talking to a character from the other…and that just doesn’t work! J
So, what kind of writer are you?