f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Day 5 of Ezekiel's Shadow: Closing Thoughts

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Friday, October 14, 2005

Day 5 of Ezekiel's Shadow: Closing Thoughts

Mark Bertrand’s summary of the week is posted here.

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I’ve enjoyed this week.

I’m not putting on a brave face or pretending. This has been one of the best examples about what f*i*f is all about. Mark Bertrand put in a tremendous effort on behalf of this community, you all have taken the conversation in some good directions at the forums, and in general I think we’ve all been able to see something new by peeking beneath the skin of a book.

No I don’t think we’re going to make any sweeping realizations about the CBA market. One book’s flaws are its own. But if for no other reason than we’re talking about a book’s flaws with even-handedness and an eye to learning from them, I think this has been successful.

Personally I learned a lot as a writer. And a lot as an editor.

It raises some difficult questions for me as somebody in publishing about our role in releasing books that are flawed. CBA publishers have to be accountable at some level for what they put on bookstore shelves and I’m trying to figure out my own place in that argument.

I’ll close with a simple thought.

As an author, you (and your publisher) will dictate when a book is “finished.”

Together BHP and I made the decision that ES, in its form on your shelf or desk, was completed. We’ve seen there are flaws still in the book, but still the decision was made and I have to live with that decision today.

Am I happy about the flaws? Nope.

Are they fixable? Yep.

We’re they fixable back then by the writer I was? To some extent, probably.

Here’s one other memory I have of the process though—exhaustion.

Writing a book is never simple. It’s a long and grueling thing. Reading and rereading draft after draft. There’s a point we reach and decide, “I can go no further.”

The best writers I suppose have an extreme tolerance for this work, a practiced devotion to the story that won’t let them quit early, and the skills that help them strike closer to the mark the first time out.

ES progressed a long way from start to finish. My objective sense of the story was shot by its end and we were scheduled into a release date that made us dot our final “i’s” and call it a day.

Each book you write will endure the same thing, whether at a publishers hand or your own.

At some point, you call it “complete.”

Let’s train ourselves in all aspects so “complete” is a place we can be happy with.

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What were your final thoughts on the week? Post them at the discussion board.