Tuesday, March 25, 2008

It Takes A Village...

...to write a book. Before I started writing, I thought that fiction writers shut themselves up with a strong cup of coffee and didn't emerge until they had penned a masterpiece. Maybe some do (nobody that I would ever hang out with), but for most writers, it is done by committee.

Writing the first draft is indeed lonely work. Nobody can really help you get the words out on the page - that you have to suffer through by forcing your behind into the chair to type stuff every day. Once you have a beginning, a semblance of a middle and an ending, the fun begins. Right now, I've finished the new YA and have eight people reading the whole thing, and another four reading bits and pieces. I get input from my agent, my critique group(s) and people who know more than I do about what needs to be included in the book. What is so interesting, is that there are always things that several people will point out, and then there are a few things that maybe only one person will bring up, but they are so spot on that you have to make the changes.

I've had people say to me that they couldn't possibly change what they had written. Bull. The only way to make a good story great is by collaborating with other people. You need to get some distance from the story and let other people read it who don't love the characters as much as you do. I love it when my readers come up with angles I hadn't thought of, or point out a glaring mistake in chapter four. I hope that someday I get a sizeable acknowledgments page in this book, because I'm going to need it.

On this date: In 1955, the film Blackboard Jungle was released.

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