Here I am today, though, ready and rearing to go!
The main reason I did not post yesterday was because I pretty much spent the whole time editing. I have Tuesdays off from work, so I woke up at 8:30, promptly set my alarm back a half hour, and went back to sleep. When I did get out of bed, it was 9 o'clock, a fine time to start my day.
I am very much a morning person, in that I'd rather get all my difficult stuff out of the way at the beginning of the day and have time to rest and relax later on. If it's dark out, I'm pretty much useless.
On Monday evening, I had a long conversation with a friend of mine about Episode 2 (which comes out next week), discussing the its strengths and weaknesses. My biggest problem this time round seemed to be an overuse of the narrative lens. For anyone who hasn't read my first episode (and you really should, it's only 99 cents, here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007Q3LV0W) the story is told in the first person by the main character, Professor Jack Baling. What my friend noticed, however, was that I was overusing the "I," that is to say, rather than having Jack describe a scene like this: "A fire burned in the grate," I would say, "I saw a fire burning in the grate." See the difference? In the latter, what's happening is being filtered through Jack's perception.
True, the whole story is filtered through Jack's perception--it is first person, after all. The narrator is directly involved in the story as opposed to some distant, omniscient eye in the sky. But as an author, my main goal is to keep a certain level of fluency in my story, a flow, a rhythm. I need my reader to be so sucked into my work, to see the picture I'm painting so vividly that they forget they're reading at all. The narrative lens can be useful on occasion, but overusing it creates a hurdle for the reader, places a barrier between them and the story, which is to be avoided.
It's funny, because reading the second draft of my story, the same one that my friend read, I got to certain sections of it where I knew that the story wasn't as good as I wanted it to be, but couldn't pinpoint why. I knew that it was weak, but couldn't find the weak spots. That's where my friend comes in. She says, "Look. Right here. Fix this," and I say, "Of course! How could I have been so blind?" And I'm completely serious. (OK, maybe not completely serious, but fairly serious.) I read my own work over and over, I know what I'm trying to say, so there's this paradoxical blindness I have toward it. I know the inner lives and secret histories of my characters. My readers do not. So I need to be able to have the characters interact in such a way that who they are syncs up with how I portray them, which is difficult. But that's why we have editors, yes?
A friend of mine told me this morning that he saw a dedication in a book he was reading and thought of me. I can't remember how it goes exactly, so forgive me for paraphrasing, but it was something to the effect of, "People think that writing is a solitary pursuit, and to a certain extent, it is. The writer sits alone at his or her keyboard, and creates a story. But the story as it is first written is much different from the one that gets published. In between those two stages lies a multitude of drafts, each read by a legion of people. In regards to those who have helped me, you are too many to name, but too important to ignore."
And I agree with that. I would not be where I am, my work would not be as it is, were it not for those people who have helped me. You are the bridge between what I create and what I want to create.
Thanks for reading.