October 23, 2009
One would think that, after editing, re-editing, proofing, and re-proofing, that a book would be perfect, ready to go, error free.
I got the proof for One Too Many Blows To The Head on Monday. It was thrilling to see it in print. However, despite the fluttering of my heart when I looked at it and flipped through its pages–pages laced with the heavenly smell of printer’s ink–I knew I had to push past the honeymoon phase and get to readin’.
As I opened it and read the first paragraph I realized one thing . . . I was really getting tired of proofreading. After all, writing is the fun part. Writing is what makes my heart sing. Writing is what I do. Proofreading is like washing dishes or vacuuming. It’s a job to me.
But read it I did.
And I found errors. Nothing embarrassing, like changing a character’s name halfway through the book, but errors in punctuation or spacing that were noticeable to me and would certainly be noticeable to a reader.
So another proof has to be ordered.
Am I disappointed? Sure I am. But not as much as I would be if Eric and I had let it go to press with all the errors inside.
I constantly remind myself that I shouldn’t let impatience govern my decisions . . . and that is so important in the writing world. Patience is what gets a good copy. Patience is what gives you time to start marketing and pushing forward. Patience is what it’s all about, man. Well, and writing something worth reading.
So here I sit, impatiently (despite my self-chastising) awaiting my next proof and reminding myself that it too will need to be read and approved by both Eric and me before it goes to press. My fingers are drumming but I tell myself this is what it is to be a writer . . . it is to learn to love your art enough to get it right . . . no matter how long it takes.
April 6, 2008
It started with Brick. Then came Black Dahlia, which was actually a “true” twist of an unsolved murder in Hollywood. Close on its heels was “Hollywoodland” with the pseudo-reality look at the death of Superman star, George Reeves. Of course, everyone remembers L.A. Confidential…that was a good one too.
But you gotta love that writers are getting in on the action now. I just finished Linda L. Richards book, Death Was The Other Woman…a nice read. Simple, but nice. Gas City is another new one by author Loren D. Estleman. Add to that the Hard Case Crime tales by various authors and it’s easy to see that Noir is back…and even in demand in some respects.
So what is it about these titles that tickles our fancy? Is it the crime? Nah. We can read about crime in 8 out of every 10 fiction works sold. Sex? Nope. Not that either. If one out of every two fiction books sold is romance, clearly, the sex reader could just pick something up from the romance section of the book store. But increasing numbers of people are picking up books on Noir…with their pulp-like covers sporting scantily clad femme fatales and their catchy “Up Yours” titles. Maybe it’s the marriage of sex and crime that draws us in…but if that was the case, why not just read about prostitution?
The truth? Noir is situations. Noir is character. Of course noir has plot, but plot comes AFTER the character dilemma. Flawed characters drive the plot. And that makes Noir. Maybe a happy ending. Most likely not. Crime? Of course. Murder? Hell yes. Sex? Maybe, but it isn’t necessary. A good detective is getting some someplace. We don’t need to read about it to know it.
Reading Noir is like belching through your nose after drinking straight Coca-Cola. It burns like hell but, in a strange way, it offers clarity…and it makes your eyes water.