I have the pleasure of sharing a post by author M.F. Sullivan who talks about...
You know what they say about ‘real writing is rewriting’? Well, young writer, I’m afraid it’s true. I’ve noticed a dangerous trend in advice for young writers (especially self-publishing novelists) that “Your first draft + one professional edit will be better than 9/10ths of the books self-published on Amazon!”
And maybe that’s true. But will it be a finished story unto itself? Will you have brought out the foreshadowing, given thoughts to the construction of language, honed the voice? Call me obsessive, but I consider the weight of every word and go so far as to replace repetitive basic colors with more specific ones during the final editing phases. I view my writing like I view painting: unless it is a matter of style as with an abstract painter, seldom does a viewer see an extra line in a painting—and in an abstract painting, that extra line is intentional.
I could not have called any of my published novels ‘complete’ if I had not rewritten them several times, sometimes from the ground up. Delilah, My Woman, I rewrote in its entirety something in the order of seven times over seven years. Luckily, I haven’t had to commit to such a grand re-creation since, but The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy endured some massive changes between the first drafts and the final manuscripts. Had stopped any sooner in the process, I would have been deeply dissatisfied with the result.
Granted, some writers do turn out final copy the first time—Philip K. Dick is a great example—but even Jack Kerouac, famous for the too often misunderstood quote, “First thought, best thought,” saw On the Road edited heavily between the original scroll and the publication. “First thought, best thought” is an encouragement to trust one’s initial instincts about the direction of a story or the concept or any other abstract thing—it doesn’t mean that you write a first draft and call it finished. Ginsberg’s famous poem “Howl” and its many revisions is a fine example of a piece of historic literature which, while bearing the spirit of its original envisioning, was sharpened like a blade over the course of its development.
After I published Delilah, My Woman, someone asked me why I didn’t just send the book to the editor after the first failed draft, and I have to admit I was a little flabbergasted by the question. I was re-writing the book because each time I got to or near the end, I realized it wasn’t the book I wanted to write—should I have sent the books I didn’t want to write off to the editor, to be published under my good name?
It's all a question of personal standard. Not everybody needs to go through the six or seven revisions my books require before I’m comfortable with their condition, but I’m concerned that those who do will feel pressured by the present literary environment to churn out loosely-edited first drafts instead of investing the time and attention they’d like to give each manuscript. I’m here to tell you, writer, if you’re meticulous, resist the urge to speed! Your readers, your editor, and your future self will thank you.
(Disgraced Martyr Trilogy #1)
by M. F. Sullivan
GENRE: Sci-fi, Horror, LGBTQ
By 4042 CE, the Hierophant and his Church have risen to political dominance with his cannibalistic army of genetically modified humans: martyrs. In an era when mankind's intergenerational cold wars against their long-lived predators seem close to running hot, the Holy Family is poised on the verge of complete planetary control. It will take a miracle to save humanity from extinction.
It will also take a miracle to resurrect the wife of 331-year-old General Dominia di Mephitoli, who defects during martyr year 1997 AL in search of Lazarus, the one man rumored to bring life to the dead. With the Hierophant's Project Black Sun looming over her head, she has little choice but to believe this Lazarus is really all her new friends say he is--assuming he exists at all--and that these companions of hers are really able to help her. From the foulmouthed Japanese prostitute with a few secrets of her own to the outright sapient dog who seems to judge every move, they don't inspire a lot of confidence, but the General has to take the help she can get.
After all, Dominia is no ordinary martyr. She is THE HIEROPHANT'S DAUGHTER, and her Father won't let her switch sides without a fight. Not when she still has so much to learn.
The dystopic first entry of an epic cyberpunk trilogy, THE HIEROPHANT’S DAUGHTER is a horror/sci-fi adventure sure to delight and inspire adult readers of all stripes.
What couldn’t a person access from the Japanese Internet? The question inspired Dominia to get out of the bathtub for another look at the card. There was no address, whether web or physical, as there hadn’t been an address on the ad floating across that billboard; instead, when she studied the lotus embossed upon the card, the DIOX-I highlighted it as though it were a link. How fascinating, this augmented reality! After fixing the device’s settings back to manual control, she “clicked” on the link with an unsteady wink, and her right field of vision was covered by the floating window of a browser. Had she cochlear implants, she would have heard some sort of music, or even a voice accompanying the woman’s writhing in and out of the browser’s dark: less a whole person, and more a disembodied assortment of lips, fingers, lower backs, and thighs. At last, the vision disappeared to present her with the crimson words, “WELCOME TO THE RED MARKET.”
A button appeared: “Connect Your Halcyon for Age Verification.” The idea of giving the women of the international and highly loathed illegal organization any information might have stopped her in a simpler time, as it surely stopped 70 percent of potential Red Market customers—the ones able to access the site, anyway, inaccessible from Europa and the Front through traditional routes. That had been all the Hierophant could do to combat in any meaningful way the world’s oldest profession-cum-cult. Far trickier than hampering Internet access was controlling in-person transactions in gold or silver, or the off-brand cryptocurrency, Redcoin; and because there were almost no freelance prostitutes left in the world, catching a working girl was difficult.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
M.F. Sullivan is the author of Delilah, My Woman, The Lightning Stenography Device, and a slew of plays in addition to the Trilogy. She lives in Ashland, Oregon with her boyfriend and her cat, where she attends the local Shakespeare Festival and experiments with the occult. Find more information about her work (and plenty of free essays) at https://www.paintedblindpublishing.com!
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