Monday’s Friend: Eric Price
Today I am pleased to welcome Eric Price as this week’s guest blogger, to talk about the writing process. This is something that’s different for every writer, so let’s hear about what it means for Eric.
Writing, Rewriting, Revising, and When to Submit
By Eric Price
Coming up with ideas has never presented a problem for me. I have too many file folders to count on my computer’s hard drive. So why am I not the most prolific author since Philip M. Parker? Well, since I do the writing myself, it takes more time. But I also have a hard time knowing when I’ve made my story as good as I can make it (at least before my editors get ahold of it and tell me to make it better). So when is enough enough? I suppose this question has as many answers as there are writers. I’ll walk you through my process. If you’re new to writing, maybe you’ll find the information useful. Established writers, perhaps you’ll find a fresh angle. And if you have a different approach you’d like to share, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
This part causes me some trouble, but when I sit down to write, I try to do just that – write. Planning, plotting, researching the Cayuse War…all of these fall in one category for me: procrastination. At this point, the most important thing I can do is get my story typed. I can look up Cornelius Gilliam’s date of birth later. Far too often, I’ve spent countless hours doing research only to cut most of the juicy information from the final draft…or not using the material at all. I do save everything, though, so I may have a use for those notes on cutaneous gas exchange someday.
This part seems like it should be difficult, but I find it surprisingly easy. I basically scrap everything I just did and rewrite it. I credit (read blame) one of my writing instructors for this. I had an error created by copying and pasting, and she got on my case saying the technique makes for sloppy writing. She went on to tell me how in her day everything was done on a typewriter so changing sections meant retyping the whole thing.
Before I learned to work entirely on my computer, I would print a copy, make corrections by hand, and then retype it. Now I combine those steps into a massive rewrite. While I’m working on this, I fill in the details I fought so hard not to research in the writing phase, such as Cornelius Gilliam’s date of birth (April 13, 1798). I also use the time to beef up any descriptive details that add to the story, while removing those that slow the pace.
This is sort of my final walk through looking for typos and spelling errors. I list it as one step, but I probably go through the story two or three times at a minimum. I tend to get stuck on this step. I want to find every single error before my editors even look at it. I’m not sure why. My editors still find mistakes as plane as a 747.
At this point, some people also use critique groups. I don’t. I’m not going to tell you not to or say anything negative about them. In fact, I should probably have one. I have several reasons for not using one, and probably none of the reasons are, well, reasonable. I’m a private person. My writing is my creation. Victor Frankenstein didn’t offer tours of his laboratory. I did let several people read Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud before I submitted it. While I took some of their suggestions, I still felt like a bus full of senior citizens had just arrived. The Squire and the Slave Master (Saga of the Wizards Book Two) comes out in a few weeks. Not counting myself and the people working for my publisher, only two others have read it…and neither in its 100% final form.
I see this word as having double meaning in writing. There’s the obvious: To submit something is to present it for approval. You’ve worked hard on your book, short story, poem, play, etc. Now you’re ready to send it to a publisher who will read it as soon as it comes across the email (he or she will open it immediately since you gave it the most catchy title in the history of literature), and once this lucky publisher regains composure from reading the awesomeness you just sent, you’ll get a reply with your contract. This should come by the close of business that day. If you believe this, let me know. I’ll write a new post on waiting. Tom Petty was right, it is the hardest part.
Where were we? Oh yes, the second meaning of submission: to yield, or stop. And that’s really what it is for me. I’ve gone through it countless times, and I finally get to stop…at least for a while.
So there’s what works for me. I certainly don’t claim this is the only way to write, or even the best way. I highly doubt many people do a full rewrite. Now it’s your turn. What techniques do you use to make your creation the best you can?
Eric Price lives with his wife and two sons in northwest Iowa. He began publishing in 2008 when he started writing a quarterly column for a local newspaper. Later that same year he published his first work of fiction, a spooky children’s story called Ghost Bed and Ghoul Breakfast. Since then, he has written stories for children, young adults, and adults. Three of his science fiction stories have won honorable mention from the CrossTime Annual Science Fiction Contest. His first YA fantasy novel, Unveiling the Wizards’ Shroud, received the Children’s Literary Classics Seal of Approval and the Literary Classics Award for Best First Novel. His second novel, The Squire and the Slave Master, continues the Saga of the Wizards. It is scheduled for an August 4, 2015 release. Find him online at authorericprice.com, Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads.
Blurb for THE SQUIRE AND THE SLAVEMASTER (coming August 2015)