Ramblings: A Word on Writing

A small group of followers here have informed me that they are aspiring writers and that’s why I talk about writing here. I would say “young” but some are like me, coming to the writing table late in life. But, like many of them, I’ve been writing seriously since I was about 10. I’ve been published (more serious writing) since I was 26. But I’ve only been writing books for about 15 years. I’ve learned a lot and have so much more to learn. I wish I had studied creative writing more in college, but I was looking for a career through which I could support a family.

Rebtribution

I am halfway through my first edit for this book, and there will be many more. I have attended (online) seven creative writing courses by some very successful writer. Some of them have attempted to tell their students how to write. I think that is a mistake because we all have our gifts and our limitations. We are each unique writers and should approach it that way.

Early prototype of Retribution’s Cover

I’ve said before, my gift, if I have one, is a creative mind. I have never experienced “writers’ block” for a second. I have at least ten books in my mind, almost written, and my next book will be me just trying to decide which one to put on paper. My limitation, and it relates to my dyslexia, is gammerical or spelling mistakes, which my mind cannot see. I was pleased to hear Margaret Atwood share that she has the same problem. I would be a horrible professional proofreader. I read my Ristretto Rain twenty times. I had seven other people read the manuscript looking for typos. I then had a professional editor go over it for three months. Yet, I’ve heard that the published book still has two typos. Margaret Atwood (who has made a lot of money with her writing) can afford to hire a sharp-eyed proofreader to sit beside her, and they go over the final manuscript (after professional editing) word by word over about six weeks. I don’t have that luxury as I already spend about two grand for the one professional editing process.

So, the way I write is to not waste my time doing an outline (several authors say you must write an outline first). I sit down and start writing. I almost close my eyes and enter the imaginary world of my characters. I then work like a stenographer writing down the words the characters are saying to each other.

I write in layers. My second layer, where I’m at with Retribution, is reading it again, making major corrections for flow. Then in my next few readings I start to massage color into the text. I expand the personalities of the characters, and the texture of the places. My last 3-4 readings (editing) I start to reshape sentences to make them clearer.

My last few readings is simply looking for typos. When that is done, I turn it over to friends who are willing to read it. Then I turn it over to a professional copy editor. Then I usually read it 1-2 more times.

Sometimes, and I’m almost to that point now with Retribution, I have someone read a rough draft early on (which may be laden with typos) to see if my general idea is coming across before I move forward. If you are interested in reading it at this level, let me know.

I am really excited about Retribution and want to make it the best I can. I want to make it better than Ristretto Rain, which after 20 reviews on Amazon, it still holds a 5 star rating. But I can do better and will.

I gave up on the big house publishers ten years ago. The reason is I because very disillusioned with the process. If it were simply about the best written books get published by the big publishers, that would be one thing. But publishing is a business. It is the same in music or any other art form. What sells books, is the author’s persona and notoriety. I am clueless how to achieve those two, while I think I do know how to write a good book.

I have orphaned Ristretto Rain, meaning not making any efforts at promoting it at this time. The reason is, I really am at loss for ideas at this time, that don’t cost an arm and leg. I am happy that it is still selling, although not as brisk as at first. If you haven’t bought it yet, there is still time. If you have not reviewed on Amazon yet, there is still time for that too. I am still waiting on my first royalty check and it will not be impressive, due to how the business works.

I will once again approach an agent for Retribution and try the high road for publishing that work rather than a small indie publisher.

And lastly: VOTE!!!

Published by J. Michael Jones

J. Michael Jones is a writer and PA who lives in Anacortes, Washington. He is the father of five children, who are now grown and out discovering this wonderful world on their own. He has previously focused his writing on non-fiction including medical topics and issues of the philosophy of Christian thought. With the success of his last book, Butterflies in the Belfry, Michael is now moving into fiction with his first novel, The Waters of Bimini.

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