Seriously. I thought it would be hilarious to read over my first novel and giggle over how adorably incompetent I was. Let’s just say there was nothing cute about it whatsoever. It was blisteringly, depressingly, horrifyingly bad, and to be honest if I’d read a freshman work of this quality by a teen today, I’d be tempted to say “this person has no future in writing.” Happily, even the most embarrassingly awful writers can become accomplished novelists if they practice (and, as always, if they keep reading). I’m living proof. I think.
Oh, being the annoying guy who nags me wasn’t what you had in mind? Sorry! Art imitates life!
I promise, I have enough ideas without you volunteering.
This is kinda based on an obnoxious conversation with a co-worker in which he asked me whether I had already based a character on him “yet.”
They always ask “what’s it about?” but if I actually tell them, they’re usually sorry they asked.
Long issue because this is Issue 20! The drawings representing the fictional projects are of course real examples from my work, as follows:
1. The “dream guy” story is Finding Mulligan. Frame 3 features Cassie, her other self Dia, and Mulligan, the dream guy. Frame 4 features Cassie trying to choose between Jamie the artist and Terrell the musician.
2. The “kid taking pictures of roadkill” story is Joint Custody (an incomplete MG book). Frame 5 features Bay doing his thing. Frame 6 features Marz taking pictures of Bay while Bay is taking pictures of roadkill. He is perplexed.
3. The “science fiction romance” story is Stupid Questions. Frame 7 features Nick trying to grab Summer before she flies away.
4. The “precocious fairy girl” story is Bad Fairy. Frame 8 features Delia studying.
“Editing” doesn’t necessarily mean “trimming,” I know, but every time I set out to make the dang thing shorter it seems to laugh in my face. . . .
Don’t ask me how I managed to get such drastically different word counts while keeping the same page count. That’s an actual screen capture.
First off, I’m happy to say isn’t just a hypothetical situation I wrote up for this comic. (In case you’re curious, I ended up signing with the agent who asked me to cut 30,000 words out of my book–the situation from this previous comic.) Getting representation feels like a giant step forward–and I’m hoping it is!–but once you’re out of the query trenches, it’s not like you’re home free. . . .
So now that I no longer have to query agents to ask if they want to represent my novel, my agent gets to start querying publishers to see if they want to take a look at my book. And the cycle begins again. I’m glad to say my agent seems confident that publishers are going to fight over me, but I’m far too jaded to expect it to be easy. . . .
But who knows. Maybe soon I’ll be doing comics about bashing my head in over line edits from the publishers and stressing over cover concepts and sequels and movie deals, huh?
We’re swinging for a three-book deal for my fantasy trilogy starting I guess this week, so wish me luck!
Happily I’ve never had a person actually turn around and tell me I’m not capable of doing something I’ve clearly just done, but I’ve heard this “write what you know” nonsense both ways. If I did it awesomely, it must be MY experience I’m writing! And if I haven’t had this experience, there’s no way I could write it well! Right?
News flash: Figuring out how to speak and think as a different person—to present perspectives and experiences that are not our own—is pretty much WHAT WRITERS DO. Unless we are writing our autobiographies, the things we write about can’t be assumed to be representative of what we think and what we know, and we can’t be expected to restrict our writing to presenting only points of view or experiences that are copied verbatim from our own heads.
Don’t ask if you don’t want to know!
This conversation didn’t actually happen, but I did actually have to search for images of church roofs for the reason discussed above so I could include relevant description. The novel in question was Stupid Questions.