Saturday, July 12, 2008

Would you like to read my book?

Real writers are not supposed to say that. You are not supposed to say, "This is my book." You are supposed to say, "This is a book that I have written." "This is my book" says that you've only written the one book. "This is a book that I have written" implies that you've written a few books and this is just one of them. Or at least it implies that you intend to write something else later.

So there was this book that I wrote many years ago. I'm not even sure where it is now. It may not survive. I have moved twice since I wrote it. Also there has been rodent damage, and a lot of flood damage. So I don't know where it is, and it is probably lost.

In any case, "This is my book" was still the more accurate thing to say. It was not the only thing that I ever wrote (you knew that, you're reading my blog), or the only thing of fiction that I wrote, or even the only thing of book length that I wrote. But it was the only thing of fiction and of book length that I wrote and finished and was totally mine. There was also a lot of fan fiction, and a few short stories, and tons and tons of stuff that never got finished. Once I thought I was really on to something and was really writing a lot, or a lot for me, and when I got about to page forty or fifty my computer was stolen. I had copies of most of it, wrote another ten pages or so, but having my house broken into and computer stolen upset me a great deal and I just never got back into it.

Except for "my book" the only original fiction that I finished was stuff that I wrote as a teenager, and it probably wasn't that good, and while at the time I thought I'd written just pages and pages, none of it was really book length. Anyway, that was even before I wrote "my book" and I lived with my parents, so that was three moves ago. I really have no idea where that stuff is, except for two works of fan fiction I retrieved from my mother's house last year.

My last attempt at serious writing came from a couple of couple of classes on children's literature and creative writing that I took during the 2003/2004 year. Before that it hadn't really occurred to me that I might write for the Young Adult market, but with some encouragement from my teacher I decided to attempt a few stories and later a book. Two chapters of the book were written for class credit, and I did intend to keep writing it, except that right about then my husband all but insisted that we move from our apartment. So I got no writing done that summer, and that fall I had to concentrate on classes and graduating. After that I would have liked a job, and I needed to sort through stuff and get the house organized after being rushed into moving when I didn't want to. So I told myself that I would not work on the writing until after I had gotten the house organized.

We all know how that went.

And then all that other stuff happened a couple of years ago, and I just never got back into it. I do occasionally get out the two chapters, just to make sure that I haven't lost them too, but other than that, nothing.

So when people ask to read something of mine, it isn't that I don't like you and don't want you to read my stuff. Some of us just don't like to have people read stuff until it's "ready", whatever that might mean. I only like to have completed drafts read, and if I hadn't been in a writing class no one would have read the two chapters of the young adult novel. I don't have a lot of short stories. If I find one, I'll let someone read it, but right now I really don't know where they are. I tend to start longer things, but I don't tend to finish many of them.

I have a sequel to The Dark Crystal that I wrote when I was fourteen or fifteen. Also from that time I have a Star Wars novel. I don't really like either of them right now, but back then I was really proud of them. Anyway, they are fan fiction, so the odds were against anything happening with them anyway.

I'm afraid that "my book" was the only thing that I was really very happy with, and I'm afraid that it is lost, so I can't share it now.


dmarks said...

Many (maybe most?) authors don't want people to look at stuff until it is finished, or mostly finished. That's understandable.

There's certainly something to be said for that. If I had not lent out a half-completed novel, I'd still have it, and it would not be in Pennsylvania or Georgia or wherever it is now.

I doubt I will ever see that again. But I am going to my publisher with a few ideas on Monday, to see if I can get at least one book published next year.

The Diva's Thoughts said...

For some reason, I don't know why, I've been toying with the idea of writing a novel myself. More and more it seems. Hmmmm...