Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Lack of Book Talk

Ah, it's July, and I have my windows open and am even a little cool. This is courtesy of Hurricane Alex. We just got the very outer rain bands here, which meant gentle rain and cooler temperatures. I should get a lot done today because this is my favorite kind of weather. Unfortunately, I know summer will eventually return, and it's going to be even more painful when we go back to triple digits.

I'm still rocking and rolling on work, putting in as many hours just on writing-related tasks as I used to on work in my old job. If I could keep up something like this schedule regularly, I'd really be productive. Well, up to a point. In first-draft mode, I only have so many words that seem to be able to come out per day.

I realized that I haven't talked much about books in a long time. That's not because I'm not reading, though. One reason is that most of the things I'm reading are work-related, and if I talk much about what I'm reading, then that amounts to talking about what I'll be working on, and I don't like to talk in specifics about projects that are in progress, especially not in these early stages when they're just a ghost of an idea. That's not because I'm afraid someone will steal my ideas. It's more because an early idea is a very fragile thing that needs to be nurtured carefully. Exposing that idea to others could damage it. I've found that if a writer ever says, "I've got an idea ..." then she'll immediately be bombarded by people who want to put in their own input and ideas. That kind of brainstorming can be helpful with trusted friends, but I don't want to open it to the world. That can even be legally risky, as you never know if someone who threw out a suggestion will then think they deserve some kind of co-author credit and sue you for using their idea. Mostly, though, I save that for people who are good at asking me questions that make me think or who have subject matter expertise to provide input. I don't even tell my agent what I'm working on at this stage. I need to have my own ideas firmly in place before I consider suggestions from others.

I'm also careful about what I put out there on the Internet because of the way rumors can spread. I don't want to taint the possible market for projects I'm writing on spec by raising any expectations or putting ideas in anyone's head. People can take a scrap of an idea and turn it into something bigger that has nothing to do with what I'm really writing. I've mentioned the fact that I seem to be stereotyped as a romance author, so that editors see a romance in everything I do, even if it's not really there. If I talk about writing a particular kind of thing, it's easy for people to make assumptions about how it will go and what it will be like, and that could keep them from seeing what's really there when they read it. I also don't want the trials and tribulations of writing a book to be associated with a particular book, so that editors will know which flaws to look for. Yeah, it's kind of conceited of me to think editors are reading my blog, but I have had editors mention my blog to me in conversation. Some of the editors I'm hoping to sell to are also fans of my work and keep up with news. Editors may also read up on an author when considering a book. So, I play it safe.

Then there's the fact that I only talk about books when I can recommend them, and very little of what I've read lately has been anything I'd recommend to others. Some of that is because it is work-related and not something I'd read for pleasure. From the rants I've posted recently, you may also get the sense that I've been disappointed in what I've read for pleasure. I do have two "fun" books in my library bag, so maybe I'll have more book reports coming up.

Right now, I'm re-reading the first two books in the Rogue Agent series by K.E. Mills, and I think I'm liking them even more the second time around. The third book should be out now, and that's my reward for finishing this draft. I'll take a couple of days off to read and relax before I do the final read-through and proof-read. I do recommend these books to my fans because they have a similar tone. It's a different type of setting -- a quasi-steampunky alternative world that seems to be somewhat Victorian/Edwardian, but with magic for technology -- but similar quirky characters and humor but with serious stuff also going on. I LOVE these characters so very, very much. It's fun to spend time with them.

And that means I need to get to work so I can read the next book.

1 comment:

littlehouseofpenguins said...

That's really interesting what you say about the sharing of ideas. I love brainstorming interesting plot ideas with friends, but it's true that it certainly can give others influence over your ideas. The funny thing is, when I'm stuck on a story and I talk to a friend to get some ideas, it always ends up that I'm the one who supplies the ideas that I end up using. It's just that something about having that conversation, bouncing ideas around, gets things going. Sometimes also a friend helps with catching a flaw in an idea before it gets too far, when I'm too excited about it to notice. I can't imagine people wanting to take credit for "co-editing" for a mere idea, though! I mean, ideas are the easy part. It's actually turning them into a story that requires all the work.

I'm reading an interesting book at the moment that my MIL recommended, called "Writing Jane Austen." The thing I'm weirded out by is that it's looking like she's going to end up having just weeks to write a story that she hasn't even come up with yet. Is that even possible? I mean, I give lots of credit to the possibility of being totally inspired and writing the whole book in a flash, but I would think turning that rough draft into a final copy would take weeks of editing. But then, I haven't finished the book, so I'll wait and see how they end up explaining it.