Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Today. And Tomorrow.

13 Days until the preview of my book, The Fifth Man, comes out. There is still time to support my writing endeavours, if the wonderful people I've met this last two months find it in themselves to be generous. A small $25 donation wins you an excellent module, the preview to the book, the support of a hardworking writer and my eternal gratitude.

Ultimately, we were able to raise $2,868 of the $6,200 we were striving for.  I haven't had a donation in more than a week and so I am thinking we are perhaps at the bottom of our well.  Unlike every other kickstarter in the universe, however, the fact that I have fallen short means nothing.  I will finish the book and I will make good on my promises.  I am eternally stunned to hear of people raising $80,000 out of a request for $100,000, only to blow the money and throw in the towel on a project they supposedly cared about.

I edited 9,500 words today.  That is a lot harder than it sounds.  It isn't just a matter of correcting spelling; it is ensuring that every word spoken by a character is IN character; that the continuity is right; that the pacing and pattern and detail is all in place, leaving the reader to feel as though they've been seated in a comfy chair designed by gods.

Earlier today I wrote about two films that I called badly written.  I think this happens far more because these things happen because writers - particularly screenwriters - are pressed to finish projects in a time period that is unreasonable.  I think it is also because to write, a writer must have time to think, to concentrate on that one project to the absence of everything else.  Writing is thinking; it is elaborating upon a moment in time with reflection, reason and a willingness to admit that a given passage or a given plot development isn't good enough.  All art obeys this rule; but all artists do not.  Far too often, as I've said before, 'good enough' weakens a piece of art - because it isn't, not really.  Yet it is hard to keep coming back to something again and again that we thought was done . . . and it is so very human to convince yourself that it is, even when deep down inside you damn well know that it isn't.

Some artists tend to understand this better when they're young and poor and there are no distractions beyond the distractions they make.  It is harder for Tarentino or Scott to free themselves from distraction and bullshit, so they churn out projects in far less time with far more money than they should be spending, because they have to cut corners and pay people money to do it.  Artists with 30 years of fame under their belts hardly get a chance to think, unless they go all Garbo; it is easy for me to dedicate my mind to a single task because there are no events to attend, no meetings to attend, no charity events to attend, nothing that costs me time and money that I 'owe' to other people.

I'll never forget Vonnegut talking about that, about being pulled into the machine, and how the machine keeps a writer from writing.  In the end, he was able to separate himself; but he never turned out work again like that he did in the 60s and 70s.  Then again, he didn't have the internet.  The internet might have revived him.

Ah well.  I'm already old; and I never did get caught by the machine.  I know I would do the comic con circuit, if I could - though that goes forever now, you can do that circuit every weekend all year round if you want.  I watched the writers at their booths, the kind getting $5 a signature, talking about the same things over and over to fan after fan.  They all looked tired.  They looked unhappy.  Like having to go work in the back house of a restaurant, up to their elbows in rotten food and grease - but for more money.  I look at that and I wonder, is that what I'm doing it for?

I'm not.  I'm doing this because I love it.  I get up at 7:30 on my day off and after an hour of searching the net for the usual intellectual wake-up stuff I'm on my computer, working until 4 pm on the trade pricing table.  Then I'm editing, to take a break to write a post for the blog, to get back to editing until midnight.  And when I have to stop, because I get to the end of chapter six and that seems like a good place, I sit in the living room, on a different computer; and after ten minutes of looking at the net I'm writing a different post.  I just mean to write a few words about the preview coming out but I find I'm not done there.  I'm still writing.  It is almost one in the morning and I am still writing.  As I finish these words, I realize I have been continuously working on one project or another for 15½ hours.

And the worst thing?  I can't do it tomorrow.  Because I have to go work.  Which sucks.  But yes, you all know that already.

Well, 13 days.  That's the important thing right now.  And even though all you brilliant readers have donated already, I'll just say again there is a jumpstarter.  There is a patreon.  There are no expectations, no recriminations, no extortion where it comes to not finishing the job that people have already paid for and which they deserve to receive.

Damn, you know?  The internet is a wonderful thing.

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