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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Story Talk

I'd love to talk about my stories more. Not just writing them in a general sort of way, but about the characters and their pasts and their stories. But then I think, well, what I'm writing now won't be out for months (it's a short story) and the full-length books I write can take a year or more from when I turn them in to when they appear on the shelves. So if I talk about what I'm working on right now, a reader would have to wait forever for that story.

The simple solution would be to talk about my books as they come out. That way it would be fresh for the reader and timely. The problem with this is that by the time a book is released, those characters are long gone and my head is full of new people. If I'm writing proposals, I might have written multiple heroes and heroines by this point, and the fine details on the previous characters fades.

And the other big thing is that even if I could bring those old characters forward again, they'd interfere with my writing the new characters. Since I usually have a deadline, either for a sold project or a self-imposed one, I don't like to do this. Anything that puts space between me and the people I'm supposed to be writing is something I try to avoid.

Then there are the spoilers to consider. I'm kind of bad about revealing too much and this is another reason I tend not to talk about what I'm currently working on. Oh, sure, I can do quick little blurbs without giving too much away, but that's about my limit. :-)

There was a quote I read once that stuck with me. Not who said it or the exact wording, but the gist of it was that you shouldn't watch how laws or sausages are made. I'd paraphrase that to you shouldn't watch how books are written or sausages are made. The writing process can be messy and ugly and torturous at times and I don't want how hard it is to write a book affecting a reader's perception of that story. Because difficulty in writing doesn't necessarily translate into the reading experience.

I've heard other authors talk about books they wrote that they hate because of how hard it was for them to write them, but that those are the books readers seem to always comment on how quickly and smoothly the story read, etc. But would those readers feel that way if they knew the author struggled mightily?

I'd hate to test that out, although I do sometimes post on Twitter about trashing a chapter again and rewriting. That just seems less serious than a blog post where I talked at length about why a scene isn't working. A tweet is transitory, there and gone in the timeline, but blogging about it seems more ponderous and permanent.