If you are currently viewing this page, then you are doubtless aware that many, if not most, fiction writers these days also blog. (I mean, you are here reading this now, so…) As to why we do this, especially when we already spend so many of our waking hours in front of the keyboard, that may be a little less clear. And the answer will likely surprise you.
Much as it may seem that we have outsized senses of self-importance, believing that the rest of the world is out there waiting with its collective breath bated to read about the detailed happenings of our day-to-day lives, in reality it is all a matter of hard-boiled practicality: for any author not sufficiently established to receive significant advertising and PR support from one of the larger publishing houses (and let’s face it, given the costs involved, that’s 99% of us), in many ways the blog has become the standard tool of the trade when it comes to marketing. It serves as a central hub for the writer’s “brand”, linking to every aspect of his/her public presence, a place to announce upcoming events, provide updates on the current manuscript, discuss the writing process – and of course to generate reader awareness and build a following. Why, some of the bolder mavericks in the business even use the space to *gasp* sell books.
And yet, despite the importance that blogs have accrued, I am continually amazed at how rarely authors seem to employ them to dissect their own work in any kind of meaningful detail. Perhaps the subject of their writing is too personal, or perhaps they have trepidations about revealing how ugly the in-process material can be, or perhaps they simply think the end results would not be worth the effort, but whatever the reason, very few writers that I am aware of ever actually pull back the curtain on how they practice the craft. Certainly, one rarely sees them post examples from their own unfinished drafts (either in real time or after the fact) – which, if you think about it, is exceedingly odd, given the age-old literary maxim to “show, don’t tell”.
To my mind, this general reticence is a great shame. As both a writer and a reader myself, the subject I am most interested in hearing an author discuss is his/her work – how the manuscript evolved, what changes it underwent, and why. After all, while we may be glad that our favorite writers use their public platforms, for example, to promote certain charitable organizations (and I am!), we follow them because of the quality of the prose they produce, not their expertise in philanthropy. Consequently, as I pursue my own craft, I will do my best to share with you not only how I go about my writing in the abstract, but also to provide more concrete discussions of my process by citing from the pages of my work (although I do reserve the right to occasionally bang the drum on those causes closest to my heart as well). As I do, I will add the relevant samples here for your review.
Here they are, listed chronologically by when they were posted (not necessarily when they were written):
- Heir to the Old Kingdom – Part I: Grim Tidings
- Original Prologue
- Synopsis – Starting Point
- Synopsis – Final Version
- The Query Letter that Failed (A Lot)
- The Query Letter that Worked (Well, Once Anyway)
- My Writing Process – the Clunky Beginnings
- My Writing Process – the Somewhat Smoother End Result
- A Detour Avoided
Note: in order to make these excerpts more legible in the context of this blog, I had to increase the font size significantly; the page numbers of these samples will likely not jibe with those in any other format.