Friday, September 28, 2012

What's Good?


It's the end of September and I'm nearly done with The Cold Distance. Well, essentially done.

For now.

It's hard to live with thing you've written for such a long time. The initial idea was so mad, so beyond anything I'd tried to write before that I wasn't sure I could write it. When I was knee-deep in the early chapters, I loved the story. When the revelations about the end came to me, I loved it even more. At the end of November I was only about two-thirds of the way through it and I loved it so much I had to see it through to completion.

Now, eleven months after completing that Zero Draft, I'm done polishing my baby to a high shine and hoping that I can convince other people to like it.

I've done all that I know how to do. I've gone back in and fiddled with grammar, turns of phrase, little character moments, and all the other things that are part of the editing process. My baby is grown up compared to December of 2011, and ready to toddle off out into the world. 

And I still love it. In fact, I love this book more than anything else I've ever written. Don't get me wrong, I'm proud of everything I've written, especially Evolver, but this is different. This is a truly full-length work clocking in at well over 100,000 words. A true novel. It's not epic, it's operatic. Space Operatic, in fact, like Star Wars or Firefly.

Is it that good? I don't know. I hope so. I have to convince someone else that it could be.

How will I know, though, that it's good if I can't make someone else see how good it is? Selling the work is a very different skill than writing it. All I have is my passion for the story and the characters and the worlds I've built and trying to tell someone they should like it, too, is a little like saying what your favorite flavor of ice cream is to a group of strangers and having them stare back at you with a horrifying blank look.

My book is good. I would read this book if I discovered it on a shelf in a bookstore. But brick and mortar stores are rare and there's very little browsing that happens on the internet. How will I call attention to my story? All I can do is make it the best I think it can be.

Endless tweaking will only hurt it. That's something I've learned over the last couple of years. Your initial idea is always good but you can almost always make it better. But you can go too far, too. You have to find that hallowed Middle Ground and know where that boundary ends and the Overworking begins.

So - it's done. If an editor finds the book attractive (and I'm crossing my fingers on that one) then I'll make changes if I'm asked to. I'll meet my deadlines. I will learn and improve. This is why I conceived the book in the first place: to sell it. 

But is it good? Obviously I'm biased but I think it's pretty terrific. It's been worked on long enough that it's so much better than the Zero Draft and even the real First Draft. Things have changed and grown and gotten tighter. I know what the book is about.

Next week, it goes out for consideration. Wish me luck.

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