Starting over (plus a rant, because I just can’t help myself)
Posted on August 29th, 2009 by annakjarzab
It ain’t just a TV show.
(Remember when Starting Over was a TV show? Is that still on? I never watched it.)
As you know if you read my last entry, things on the writing front have been productive, page-wise, but not book-wise. I thought maybe I’d keep on keeping on, change directions/tone/whatever to get the book on track to the end and then revise the crap out of it to make it all blend and fit nicely together into a cohesive whole, but I think I’m too far gone to do that. I decided two days ago on the subway to work that I was probably going to have to start the whole thing over again.
And actually, I’m not freaking out about that. After all, I’ve started a book over before, and it’s being published in January, so it’s not an intrinsically bad thing. For one thing, I think I might have settled upon a name for the book (er, several names; I’m in the process of narrowing it down)!
What’s stopping me from diving into a rewrite is strategy. When I rewrote AUT, I rewrote AUT. Not a tiny shard of the originally book remains. I don’t even think I could locate a copy, digital or otherwise, of AUT version 1 at this point. I didn’t back then, either, which necessitated me starting completey over, plus I had an entirely new plot. This is not the same–I’m going to keep the same general plot, but de-emphasize some elements that I’ve been focusing too much on in an attempt, I realize now, to avoid the real meat of the story, which is of course more difficult to write, and also bring an entirely different series of events to the forefront of the story. There’s a lot of good stuff that I want to keep, but I’m always wary of taking things apart and reassembling them with new material. Bumpiness can be smoothed out in revisions, but still. Maybe I should just write everything anew, I don’t know. If you know me, you know I’m loathe to lose a good joke, so it’ll be hard to let go of some of these scenes.
But, of course, onward and upward and it’s not like those scenes can’t be picked up and molded into the new version if I want them to. Right now I’m focusing on research; I’m going to start reading Slaughterhouse Five, and I’ve been listening to Paddy Casey’s “Saints and Sinners” and Ingrid Michaelson’s “Soldier” over and over.
On an entirely different note, Diana Peterfreund has talked many times about how damaging book piracy is to authors, publishers, and most importantly readers, because if you don’t buy books or check them out from libraries it sends a message to publishers that you don’t want to read them, and I’m pretty frustrated that she keeps having to say this, that it keeps happening to her and lots of other authors, and that it will probably happen to me in no time.
Honestly, this is ridiculous. Yes, I know books are expensive and take up a lot of room–hence the state of my apartment, which is overflowing with books, and my bank account, which is, you know, anemic. I GET IT. Books are a luxury. But for God’s sake, if you want to read them, do the decent thing and buy them, or check them out from the library. That’s what libraries are for! To democratize–actually, socialize–reading. Libraries are free! You can get a (free!) library card in no time at all, and then you can check out as many books as you can possibly read–for FREE! But the cool thing about libraries is that, while it’s free for you, they actually buy books, so publishers stay in business and authors can afford to keep writing the books that you can read, FOR FREE!
Now, I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but also there’s something I’d like to talk about that is tangentially related–selling ARCs on eBay. Working in publishing, and being a writer myself, this is something that really frustrates me. ARCs are NOT for sale; they are very expensive for the publisher to print, but they do it for publicity purposes, so that booksellers and reviewers and journalists can read the book in advance to prepare for when the book is sold to the public. If you get an ARC of a book, it’s because you are one of the lucky people who gets to read the book early. The last thing anyone should be doing is SELLING an ARC, because they say right on the cover that they are NOT FOR SALE and it is ILLEGAL.
I know some authors who get excited when their ARC is being sold on eBay, because it proves to them how much some people want to read the book, but honestly they should be upset. Because however much money that ARC goes for, it doesn’t matter–it’s not going to the author, and it’s not going to the publisher. It’s going to the seller, someone who got it for free in good faith. Some people might say that it’s the same as selling used books, that that money isn’t going to the publisher or author, either, but it’s actually not the same, because selling a used book is legal and selling an ARC is not. Also, somewhere along the line that used book was bought new, and that money did go to the publisher and author (well, maybe the author, but definitely the publisher). ARCs were never purchased, and they cost so much money to produce.
So please, don’t sell or buy ARCs. Get them from the publisher, lend them to your friends, read them, love them, pass them around, but please, for the love, don’t sell them. And don’t buy them. And don’t download pirated books. Rant over.