Writing is a solitary craft. There is perhaps nothing so iconic as the image of the writer alone at his desk with a tallow candle, struggling late into the night to transfer the contents of his soul onto parchment. Or, to modernize the image a bit, alone at his desk with a laptop or tablet, using a keyboard or a touchscreen to accomplish this same transfer. Depending on how you look at things, a solitary figure can be either heroic or pathetic; a pioneer striding manfully off into the wilderness, or a lonely person holding down a table for one at a restaurant full of couples and families. I’ve felt both aspects of solitude while writing; the grand and the gallant (“I’m creating! I’m speaking truth to power!”) and the pitiable (“I’m sitting alone with my computer at 2:00 a.m. again, trying to remember when I had a normal life”). Mostly I manage to steer a drama-free middle course and enjoy the solitude for what it is, while it lasts.
I say “while it lasts” because being a writer is solitary, but being an author is not. As the work progresses, people join the writer in his efforts. Pretty soon the table for one gets downright crowded. To turn the manuscript for my current project Fighting Back into a published book I have needed (or will soon need) the services of some volunteer First Readers to give me their impressions before I begin rewrites. Then add an editor and a proofreader. With traditional publishing, the next step would be hiring an agent to represent the work to publishers. With self-publishing, the next step would be getting a cover designer, a typesetter/interior designer, and some kind of PR and marketing assistance. Their joint and several efforts are all required to bring the book to the attention of the potential reader. [That would be you!]
I wrote the first sentence of Fighting Back in the wee hours of October 19, 2013. I stopped after that one sentence, just twenty-three words. But each night I added a bit more to it, reaching 350 words on the twentieth, 582 on the twenty-first, and so on. As of today, the story stands at just over 57,000 words, with perhaps 30,000 or 35,000 to go before the first draft is complete. At my present pace, that’s a month or two. Or three. No promises! But people have already joined me at my “table for one” to help bring the book to market. They include a cast of eight young actors who lent their efforts to the book trailer that I’ll be posting here soon. They did great work. And then there is up and coming book cover designer Adrijus Guscia of http://www.rockingbookcovers.com, whose design I will also unveil shortly. This is shaping up to be a global effort. The videographer is from my home town. The cover designer lives in Ireland. It’s a truly diverse gathering.
But the most important guest at my table is you, the reader. I hope you’ll join us by following this blog and liking my author page on Facebook. Both sites will tell you about the new novel and why you might like it. Both will give you updates, excerpts and sneak peaks, and the occasional contest with cool prizes. Fighting Back is shaping up to be the first in a series of related novels, and I will also feature my nonfiction writing here. So pull up a chair! I think you’ll enjoy the content. And after a year in front of the computer, I’m sure to enjoy the company.