Thursday, February 19, 2015

Those Forgotten Edits

Once I've decided upon a particular course of action, I'm known to move swiftly  towards my goal.  Decisiveness, after all, is a good thing...right?  I also tend to not be the best editor of my own writing.  I've found that these two traits sometimes work against me in the self-publishing market.  You see, hitting the publish button is pretty simple these days, and the prospect of offering something new and fresh is as tantalizing as a British Literature course.  (Pretty darn tantalizing to me anyway.)  In a day and age of instant gratification, it's easy to ignore your inner editor.

Alcatraz Burning is probably a good example of what happens when the writer's excitement interferes with the editorial process.  I enthusiastically gathered a very diverse collection of stories together (short stories and story sketches), and I wasted no time in making the leap to Amazon.  I was particularly excited about my first work in the science fiction horror genre.  Unfortunately, the collection was probably not quite ready for prime time.  Some good writer friends pointed out some stylistic and editorial problems, and I sheepishly pulled the collection from Amazon.  I could blame my beta readers, or claim that readers just don't get it, but that would likely just be making excuses for rushing a project that really required a slow and meticulous approach; impatience is never good.  Since I don't have time for meticulous at present, I may just opt for putting my fiction on hold for a little while.  It's time for a breather, as they say.  If the readers don't get it, there's usually a reason, and that reason is that I'm getting a little sloppy in some of my short fiction.

I've been preaching the importance of editing and working tirelessly at revisions for years.  I even regularly decline to review poorly edited books...  Well, sometimes it's hard to practice what you preach.  I'll endeavor to do a more careful job of that in the future, and, in the meantime, don't be too concerned if I fade away just a little bit into the social media background for a while.  I think there's a sense in which social media has damaged the quality of my writing, and I need to give that some careful consideration in the months ahead.

Walking around my old alma mater, Seattle Pacific University, with my father this last Monday, I was struck with how things have changed around my old stomping grounds by the ship canal.  In twenty-five years, or so, impressive new buildings have gone up, and some old ones have disappeared--e.g. Tiffany Hall.  Even with all the changes, though, it still feels like a special place, a place of learning, as well as a home away from home of sorts.  It reminds me how excited I am to be returning to school this month; I've recently enrolled in Marylhurst University.  Lifelong learning is something in which I believe strongly, and, as a related commitment to this end, I'll strive to not let down my good 
audience again.     

Special thanks to the authors who took the time to share honest feedback concerning this ill-fated collection!

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