Some of my friends tell me I think too much when I write posts for my blog. I can’t say they’re wrong, because I haven’t tried to just whip off a post. So, here goes.
I’ve started working on another novel. Smart writers convinced me that I need to stop editing the two novels I’ve written. I met some unpublished novelists like me a few weeks ago, and they invariably told me one of two stories. A startling number had finished their novel, but they needed another month to “polish” it. That month of polishing had lasted anywhere from several months to several years. The rest had finished polishing their novel, and they had engaged someone to edit it. Now they were fighting with the editor, who clearly didn’t know a god damn thing because he kept making stupid suggestions. Some of these writers had fired their editor and were now working with their second or third editor, who was also a moron.
I heard about a whole lot of novels that were 99% finished. So to hell with that. I’m declaring my novels 100% finished, and I’m moving on. I’m shooting queries to agents all right, but I’m not waiting around for responses. And I’m not spending all of my time on social media to build my “platform.” (A platform is the group of people out on the internet who think that you’re kind of neat and who theoretically might buy a book you wrote.)
One of the coolest things I heard recently is that “books sell books.” You’re a lot more likely to make fans if you have five books on the shelves than if you have one book on the shelves. Plus, you’re likely to become a better writer with every book you write. So, I can’t ignore all that platform stuff, but right now my mission is to write more books, and I’d better not forget it.
I don’t have a working title for my new book yet, but I can tell you about it in one sentence. It’s the story of how Santa Claus went from being a juvenile delinquent to being the world’s best loved jolly old elf. I’ve done a lot of character and plot work, and I started writing last night. Just for fun, here’s the first draft of the first couple of paragraphs. I expect that by the fourth edit these paragraphs will be quite different. I might not even use any of the same words, including “the” and “as.”
Santa Claus is a bastard.
I mean that literally, since his elfin mother once sat under the moon with an earnest fellow just as young and dewy as she was. They had a jolly time, although maybe it was a bit too jolly. Even that would have been fine, except he had the bad manners to walk off into the forest one day and never come back. When she at last found a husband and became Mrs. Kringle, she brought along her son Kris, who was just like that useless bowl you can’t throw away when you move into a new cottage, because it was a gift from a wealthy aunt.
In addition to being a bastard, Kris Kringle can act like a bastard. At least he’s a bastard to me sometimes, and I’m his friend. In fact, the first thing he ever said to me was, “Stop rolling around and whining, everybody will think you’re a baby.” This was out behind the Aething House, where teenage elves learn their trades and bully each other with minor tricks like making someone’s shoes shrink to the size of a goose egg. That’s not as much fun as you’d think when it’s your feet in the goose eggs. On that particular day my feet were the ones being crushed, and I did roll, whine, grunt, claw, and plead in the snowy yard behind the house.
So there you go—a blog post I whipped off in a few minutes. It was kind of liberating, in an “I have no idea whether that sucked” kind of way.