Friday, January 13, 2017

Back to Basics

I will be one of the first people to admit I'm not a perfect writer. Then again, who is? As someone who attempts this craft, I have been apt to typing the wrong word (i.e. 'as' instead of 'at'), writing prose that might not make sense, and being redundant on more than one occasion. However, I still do the best job I can do, and continue to strive to be better. Alas, my many years removed from my community college English classes have finally caught up to me.

Recently, I had completed a draft version of the first book in a spin-off series from my "Gary Celdom Case Journals" set of detective fiction stories, and after some tinkering and much urging of my proofreader, I sent it off to a beta reader. For those who don't know what that is, it's like someone who looks over a computer program and makes suggestions on what could be improved upon. The only difference is, the person is doing so for a book instead of an app under construction for your smartphone. I received the feedback from the beta reader, and she pointed out some areas I needed to further modify before the story could be sent out to the masses. Naturally, it was a bruise to my creative ego, but one thing one has to learn when being an author is to develop a thick skin. I think I'm still in the process of establishing that added layer of epidermis.

Regardless, after some discussions with (read: prodding by) my wife, I decided to enroll in an online creative writing course. Most of the ones you see charge a decent penny, but I was fortunate enough to find a free one through my local library. So far, the lessons have been based on things I already know; however, as I progress through the program, I'm picking up things I had not considered, like adapting a style of a favorite author, and working on creating dialogue for my characters that are unique to one another. (A complaint by my proofreader was the characters all sounded the same, and didn't have unique voices.) These are part of the lessons I've yet to complete, but I am looking forward to learning from them.

As a result, the first book in the Phil Bennett series is being sent to the editing desk. Also, it's making me consider rewriting the long overdue second Prairie Fire book. The start and ending of it I think are sound, but I need to clear out some of the padding, and retool some certain aspects of the story. So, I might be lucky if that comes out by 2018. (Damn my muse and inner editor clashing!)

My only hope is that my future books will be better than some of my previous works, but like they always say in the arts, "It's an ongoing process."

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