Friday, February 27, 2009

The Old Flip-Flop

A friend who's into me being a writer asked me how things were going. I joked that I had my head into three novels - selling one, editing another, starting a third - and wasn't always sure which one I was talking about at any particular time. And I told him that the new one was really coming to me strongly, was threatening to take over my life, and that I was purposely slowing it down a little while I finished my editing on the previous one.

"Oh, you shouldn't do that!" he said. "You've got to strike while the inspiration's there." And then launched into a five-minute talk on the art of writing, involving some movie with Sean Conncery a few years ago ("Finding Forrester"?).

I was actually highly amused, because this happens all the time - amateurs giving advice to the 25-year veteran novelist. So I just listened until he come to this understanding himself and said, "Well why the heck am I telling YOU all this?"

I think it's mostly projection, but it is funny how much advice I get sometimes. People are always telling me about books I should read, and I feel like saying, "Shouldn't YOU be asking ME about good books to read?"

Image: The last line, final draft of "The Monkey Tribe," novel number ten.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Case of the Imposter Novel

I was talking with a friend last night, and asked her how she was enjoying my book, "Double Blind," which I gave to her a few weeks previous.

"Well, the setup's taking a little too long."

"Wow. That's curious. No one's mentioned that before."

"Well, it's all that stuff about the sheriff, and his relationship with the married woman."

"But my novel doesn't have a sheriff."

"Of course it does!"

"I swear, honey, I wrote the book - there's no sheriff."

When she checked the book that night, she discovered that IUniverse had somehow sent me a book with my cover but somone else's text! A check of my inventory revealed that, thank goodness, this hadn't happened with any of the other copies. But my friend had been plodding through this story, thinking how different it was from my previous novel, for almost a month.

"Well why didn't you say something?" I asked.

"It wasn't very good," she said. "And I didn't want to hurt your feelings."