There is nothing that will make you gain an appreciation for a creative process more than attempting to do it yourself. You know, like those people who scoff at the museum and say, “A kid could do that!” and then go home and paint something absolutely horrid.
Or those people who look on Pinterest or food blogs for new recipes.
This is how I feel about writing a book. “I write a blog,” I said. “I have a command of basic English,” I said. This will be a piece of cake. James Patterson cranks out like 4 of these a year, surely I can do at least one in five years’ time.
Then I tried to do it. I sent to my agent a proposal that I thought might work, much the same way this sculptor thought his modern take on “a snake” might work.
These things are, clearly, subject to interpretation.
Much like the kindergartner who says, “I can do it MYSELF!!” before nearly running into the path of an oncoming school bus, my journey has required a good deal of handholding, gentle redirection, and tactful suggestions from people who have been doing this much longer than I have.
Today I sent off the second draft of All Dogs Go To Kevin to my editor. I don’t know how many drafts one normally goes through; enough to get it right, I suppose. It took forever. I did what all writers do and sat, paralyzed with indecision, for months before hitting the keys in a panic. I procrastinated. I took a short break to read Stephen King’s The Stand (not the best decision from a time management perspective, that one.) But we got there.
I’ve read that George R.R. Martin writes his manuscripts on a typewriter. I can’t even fathom how that works. Without word processors, I’d have been dealing with trying to make sense of something like this:
But it’s working! We have made progress! I have slogged through my favorite dogs’ deaths enough times now to count as official desensitization therapy. It’s actually, after lots and lots and lots and lots of work, starting to resemble an actual manuscript. It’s nuts.
We are on target for a summer 2015 release, which seemed like a long time away until that whole Hachette/Amazon debacle where Amazon is penalizing first time Hachette authors by burying their works and potentially ruining their fledgling careers before they even had a chance to get started.
Now, summer 2015 seems like “Plenty of time to get it figured out, right guys? RIGGGHT?” because if not, I’m going to be begging you all on hands and knees to put aside your Prime for just long enough to get my book at Barnes and Noble because yes, I am one of those Hachette authors affected by this, and it’s making my hair fall out.
In the meantime, my editor has been keeping me entertained by sending me photos of some of the dogs that may be featured on the book cover. Her job is to take the pictures I sent her of Taffy, Emmett, and Kekoa and come up with three reasonable stand-ins. It’s a tall order, at least so far as Taffy is concerned, seeing what they have to work with: “A slightly neurotic, half-shaved Lhasa with chronic skin issues who always looks like she wants to be anywhere other than with the two 80s relics who always insist on holding her, Joan Jett and Jeanette from the Chipettes.”
Can’t wait to see what they come up with.