Sunday, September 9, 2012

If I Were Dead, Would that Get Me Published?

First of all, I'm not dead. This is not some cousin sitting at my house and hacking into my computer right after my funeral (though that would make an interesting short story).

Nope. I'm still alive and kicking. And that makes my writing worth less than my mid-sleep drool. No, that's not true. I'm too used to writing fiction, it seems. I don't drool. Perhaps my writing is worth less than my toothpaste foam? I do actually brush my teeth. A lot. And I floss, too.

But I digress. I spent the last week or so reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and the first 100 boring pages left me wondering why an editor didn't tell the writer to cut half of the exposition at the beginning. Or all of it. Then I realized that the writer was dead. An editor couldn't exactly cut it out over the author's dead body, could he? Or could he?

I know the book is a bestseller. I don't mean to criticize, really. But I did wonder whether the book is not far more popular because its author is dead. In the same way that an artist's paintings suddenly cost twice as much when the artist is no longer around to paint any more of them. 

And I still wish the first part had been edited down a LOT. And I didn't find the prose in the least bit "steamy," as the back cover promised. I wish I'd liked the characters more. I wish the justified deaths of the bad guys had been more satisfying. I wish there had been more suspense. More than anything else, I wish the author were still alive so that he could revise a little, improve, and make his books utterly spectacular.

I guess that makes me grateful. My best draft of any of my books isn't very good, but I'm not dead. I have time still to work on them.

What have I learned from all this, besides the fact that I hate exposition?

1. I'm not dead. (Whew!)
2. I don't want to be dead.
3. My writing still needs work.
4. If I don't become a published author until after I'm dead, that will stink big time.
5. I need to get to work on my writing!!!!

Come to think of it, so do you! You won't live to be 300, so you might as well get to work on your big life's project right now. Go do it. Get off this page. Stop wasting time reading my drivel and create some of your own. And then revise it. Cut out the damn exposition. Make it better.

Geez, are you still here? Go! Really! Why are you still reading this!?


  1. You are so cute! But, seriously, I have yet to read anything from you even remotely as boring as the first 100 pages of the tattoo girl book. Exposition is rarely something you give us sans action. Besides, it's my preference... and only mine. I'm just getting to know what I like.

  2. The problem is I think due largely to a lack of skilled editors in the modern publishing industry.

    1. You may be right, Crafty Green Poet. Or they are too wimpy when up against the egotism of a writer.

  3. I loved The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but I thought the exact same thing - if the author had still been alive, the editor probably would have made him get rid of those first boring 100 pages.

    1. I can't imagine we're alone in this. Way too much background, and nothing that really interested me that much.

  4. Does make you wonder sometimes, doesn't it?