I’m deep into structural edits for my new novel, Billabong Bend, due out next year. The deadline is next week. I’m too busy to blog (already missed last week’s post) so my brother Rod Scoullar has sprung to my rescue. He writes terrific young adult fantasy as a hobby, and has written a guest post. ‘It can be about anything,’ I said. This is what he came up with … (Love ya Rod x)
“Don’t be a writer.
A writer’s life is hard. Oh it’s not hard to write – putting words on paper is easy. It isn’t even that hard to put well written words on paper, words in well structured sentences, words that flow, words that evoke mood or place or situation. I can do that. You must do that if you are to be a writer.
Words are not enough though, even well written words. The reader will weary of the sweetest prose if the plot is inadequate. Poor characterisation will undermine any story regardless of the beauty of the writing. Those are areas in which I fall down. I’m not destined to be a writer; yet it isn’t for that reason.
I see how hard Jenny works. I see the notebooks, constantly added to, dozens of them, full of words and ideas that might be useful, someday. I see the effort that goes into the research. I see the discipline that requires so many words must be written before day’s end. I see the redrafting, the effort to fashion a scene just so. I see the frustration when things don’t come together.
Then, when the manuscript is complete, as best it can be given the timeframe – professional writers have to work to deadlines – and sent to the publisher, back come the edits. “Character X needs greater development early in the manuscript; the relationship between Y and Z should build more slowly; the resolution of the conflict in chapter seven seems contrived, etc.” Those aren’t comments relating to Jennifer’s current manuscript in case you’re wondering. Oh, and don’t self-publish without a professional edit. Professional editors know what they’re about. Ignore them and their advice at your peril.
I’m not prepared to put in the effort required to be published. Writing something is easy. Writing something worthwhile may be possible, but writing and rewriting and rewriting again is too much for me. I don’t want to be a writer, not desperately. It might be fun to try but, well, for me it’s all too much. If you want to be a writer, want it because you can’t imagine yourself as anything else, then go for it; but understand – a writer’s life is hard.”
Okay, Jenny — your editor is not, today, your favourite person! Hehe …
Cringed a bit at watching “Write this!” again, as well as cackling madly. Editors are taught to always respect the author, you see — while pointing out what they feel, often passionately, needs to be done to make the ms work.
Writing and editing — both bloody hard work, requiring tenacity and dedication as well as “the gift”.
Thanks, Rod – love your writing.
Ha ha Desney … no, no, I love my editor, honestly! And to be fair, the video represents an author/agent encounter. But I like the clip so much I couldn’t resist. But yes, both editors and writers work damn hard. So thanks Rod, for pointing it out!
Haha … I know you love her – of course you do.
Isn’t it amazing how we always meet the deadline, Jenny?
So looking forward to reading Billabong Bend! Love your books!
Great post Rod, and all your points are true, but aren’t you selling yourself short… just a little? If you make time in your busy life to write – instead of, oh, playing golf – doesn’t that hint at a need to write? The hard work and dedication to craft come naturally, after you finally admit that writing is what you really, really want to do. At least that’s how it worked for me.
I think fantasy novels by R. Scoullar are just around the next bend. 🙂 And good luck with that deadline Jennifer!
Speaking of deadlines how is the next book in the “Suns of Vokhtah” series coming? I’m impatient to get my hands on a copy.
Ungh… slowly? In the quest for a paying job I’ve gone back to school to brush up my training qualifications so the only writing I’ve been doing lately has been technical. 🙁 But this is just a temporary sabbatical. 🙂