Man, my brain feels like it consists of crispy Chinese noodles. Do you know how fattening those things are?
Seriously, writing a novel is an undertaking of enormous proportions. It's taken me 6 years to get to where I am with Existence, where I can finally let it go. I've probably gone through 5 drafts and that's not counting the times I've gone in (let's look at this a minute, I use this term, "gone in" quite a bit, as if I'm doing something dangerous like mining. But it really is like an excavation...) to each of those drafts to correct grammar and flowage. Sometimes the grammar is fine but the cadence of a sentence within a paragraph won't feel/sound/look right. Have you read your novel out loud to yourself? Yes, I have. Not the whole book, I'm not insane. I am crazy enough though to read some of it poised with a skull in my hand, "Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. He hath bore me on his back a thousand times, and now how abhorr'd in my imagination it is! My gorge rises at it. Blech(this part is improvised) "
I used to picture Stephen King bent over his Olivetti typewriter pounding away non-stop at the keys like the Phantom at his organ (if you know what I mean). Day and night. No time for rest, he has a thousand pages to write in 6 months and in the meanwhile, the next insane horror is lurking in the shadows and getting bigger and bigger. I think he wrote as Bachman just to curb the crazy. How can I believe that King, THE MASTER OF HORROR, ever fumbled with his writing the way that I do? How can you write something like The Stand and have time to go back to review and edit it? (Approx. word count 450,000 - KABOOM head just exploded.) Yeah, sure, by this time in his career his editor was salivating to get his/her hands on the draft, any draft. But, how do you go from this here, where I'm at today to that place where he's at where he isn't bent over but sitting up nice and straight in front of his PC now daintily typing out a perfect draft every time. Is that how he works, you think?
Imagine writing a novel, from beginning to end with out any interruptions and then just handing it off so that someone else can tightened it up and make it all pretty for you? It must be the way it works for Koontz, I believe he published 72 books last year alone (OK, mild exaggeration, but it sure seems that way). I know we should all have our personal editors but I can't yet afford to have someone get to know me enough that I would trust them to know what I mean to say and how I mean to say it. Grammatical editing, OK, but who is going to tell me to change something in a novel I've been working on for 6 years? You?
So, 6 years later am I done? No, because wait, since there seems to be a snowballs chance in hell that a traditional publishing company is going to consider my book, and wait, hold on some more, because the word on the street (Internet Boulevard) is that publishing companies are bending their authors over their respective laptops without even buying them dinner first, I have to publish this baby myself.
So, what's the big deal Olga? Just load it onto Amazon and bingo-bango, your done.
Uh, no. Not exactly. I guess now that I know what it entails, I'll format Magician correctly so that I won't have to go through everything I'm going through now. Like I said before I can't afford to send this off so it can be 'packaged' and made pretty professionally. I'm really knocking my head against the wall this first go around. Every time I view the product there are formatting issues. Paragraphs aren't aligned correctly, page breaks are missing, and I haven't even gotten the first draft of the cover art. After a while of looking at it, over and over again, I start getting cross eyed and start becoming cranky because of my poor little novel.
But please don't think I'm complaining. I'm not. This is about being honest. Is it worth it? Yes. Even if I sell one copy and it's to my sister, it will all be worth it. And all the stuff I have to do? Delicious. I am after all a control freak.
Let me tell you a story. One night last year I was walking my dog (my little shihtzu/cocker spaniel Molly, not my bigger mutt of unknown origins, Queen Boadicea - please call her Bodie) and this older gentleman neighbor happened to see me picking up her shi-cocker ca-ca. Impressed by this action I hear him say, "now, that's what I call love." I didn't realize that my picking up the dog poo qualified as love but I guess it is definitely something like that. I like to think that Molly would do the same for me if she had to. (Queen Boadicea, for all her regal-ness, would probably just eat it.) My point is, I will go to great lengths to get this novel as polished as possible because, well, if you haven't noticed by now, I love it and I want readers to love it. You might hate the way that I write, but if you were to like the way that I write but found the formatting appalling and therefore decided to have nothing more to do with me, I would never, ever forgive myself. For me, that is the equivalent of leaving the dog poo behind. Instead of hearing, "now that's what I call love," I would hear, "Aw, crap I just stepped in dog shi! Hey, Pasta Fazul, lady!!"