Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A paperback! Who would believe that?

(Originally posted June 39, 2012)

July, 2012  --- Only eight months since my last blog entry. Is that too often? Fact is, it’s been a very busy few months --- a time I want to recap, if only for my own purposes.
Every so often I scold myself for not getting more done. After all, for the first time since I started this site I have no backlog of stories waiting in wings. Does that mean I’m going out of business? Probably not. It does mean I’ve spent a lot of time revisiting earlier stories --- proofreading, tweaking, trying to make them better. In fact, when I step back to review what’s happened in the course of those eight months I really can’t complain.
Topping my list of “what’s happened” is the publication of Going Home in a paperback version. No matter how satisfying it is to see one’s ebooks displayed on Amazon, I'd never trust any writer who doesn’t get a little giddy holding a copy of his or her paperback for the first time. More than that, it’s taught me a bunch about the publishing process.
Having the paperback available has also taken me to a very different place. For the first time I have something I can actually hold in my hand and show you. That’s what led me to my first ever Author’s Fair at the Salem Public Library. Though it was a low key event, it was something I couldn’t do with ebooks. (How can I show you how cool my ebooks are?) Anyway, I’ve been in an Author’s Fair. That must make me an author.
Now I’m beginning to address the possibility of selling Going Home directly from this site. That of course leads to questions of whether anyone is willing to pay for the book, and more fundamentally, who even knows it’s out there? When those questions bubble to the surface I’m forced to return to an earlier question --- who am I writing these for? I suppose I answered that a long time ago when I decided to write what I write. If I was worried about selling books I’d have chosen something a bit more commercial. Or taken up another hobby. 
Anyway, by mid-July the ebook version of Family Matters will be available. That’s another of those stories where I just held on while it led me to where it was going. I knew where it would begin, but wasn’t at all sure where it would end until I got there. 
And finally, I’ve just begun serializing Going Poor, the last story. (At least at this point.)  It’s still a work in process. The version I end up serializing won’t be the last. I’ve learned enough about my own writing routine to know that. Still, it’s good to be back in the blog posting business.

The last project I’ll mention here (Mainly because I want to come back here in six months and see if I’ve actually done it.) is a rewrite of Maybe This Time. I’ve been kicking this around for a couple years now, wondering if it’s the right thing to do. It was my first attempt at an unhappy ending. The result was pretty harsh, not subtle at all. I kept telling myself that endings aren’t always happy, that bad stuff happens. But after rereading it a couple months ago I realized that I felt bad for Carl. I had put a lot of myself into him, and I didn’t like the fact that I’d left him hanging out to dry like that. Now I want to see if I can stay true to the story and still help him out a bit.
Rereading that last paragraph reminds me how attached I get to these people I write about. Someone like Carl Postell came to life as a figment of my imagination, someone I made up out of thin air. The fact is for month after month I rummaged through my mind clutter, choosing the pieces that became part of the story --- things that said what I wanted to say, that showed what I wanted to show.
You can’t spend as much time as I have sorting through a lifetime of memories and impressions without ending up with characters you want to treat right. I think I've done that for the Harris brothers, Aaron Peck, Tom Fedder, Hank Rolland, and Dan Pagett. Compared to the way those fellows fared, it feels like I’ve shortchanged Carl a bit. I’m curious to find out what I can do, if anything, to treat him a little better.

Check back in a few months and see if I’ve given poor Carl a helping hand, or doomed him to a life of disappointment.
Thanks,  GS

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