The Wise Novelist

Do Your Best

I do not sit down to write until the story in my head becomes so noisy that it actually distracts me from the tinnitus – not really a ringing, more like a steam valve on an old fashion radiator, white noise – I have suffered since moving so far above sea level (and aging past 60). It’s like the sound of children playing in the other room. You don’t really pay attention until you hear that crash and then some crying.

Once a story pushes into the forefront of my mind, I sit down in the early hours, stare at the blank screen, and basically zone out while my fingers do whatever they do on automatic. I think the elves step in to finish it all. I never actually remember the process. I’m really not kidding about that.

I feel like the Shoemaker in the Brothers Grimm story.

In the end, whatever there is, there is. Que sera, sera. A story.

It’s never perfect. I just don’t have time for perfection. I have a family and a full time job. And another part-time job caring for my fur-family. And still another part-time job marketing the novels.

And then I must carve out time each day to engage with the Old Fuckers Club. Those bastards keep me on my toes and sharpen my wit. They are the real life foundation for some of the characters you will meet in Finding Jimmy Moran. They each have appeared in some form in The Claire Trilogy. I’ve collected characters my entire life. When I sit to create their fictional version, I just make sure I put in all of those tiny characteristics that made me love them growing up, and I do love all of my characters, real and imagined, so that, hopefully, my readers will feel the same.

But my story, whatever it is, is complete. There is a beginning, a middle, and an end (which, as all good endings should be, becomes another beginning of something new). There is an arc to the story. Characters are transformed. There are a few laughs, a few tears, some love, some heartbreak, some action. Sex. Life. Death. And magic. Never forget the magic.

But as I said, it’s never perfect. Life is not perfect. And perfect can get in the way of good.

And that’s all I’m trying to do here. Tell my readers a good story.

Because the truth is, if the story sucks, it does not matter if there are no typos or that you’ve used the perfect word selection, punctuation, gammar and tense. The story will still suck and you, the reader, won’t finish reading it.

Don’t get me wrong. I do care how the books look and read. I try to find all of the mistakes. I have all of my friends and inner reading circle read them before they go live on publication day.

And I drive Reagan Rothe (and David King) absolutely crazy giving them wave after wave of tiny corrections right up to publication day. Indeed, that slip of paper sticking out of the side of FJM in the above photo, has notes of some of the final corrections I made after the author’s copies were dispersed to my inner circle and other supporters. Those author’s copies are now instant collector’s items, like the double-stamped penny. Hang onto them, they might be worth something someday.

I have been asked why don’t I just hire a professional editor.

Well, I guess that’s because I look upon the novels’ creation process as another back story to share with my friends. We laugh about my fuck-ups. That keeps me in check. And they remain part of my creation myth. A play within a play. So there will always be more to talk about than just the stories themselves.

And my friends get me. They’ll point out any flaws they see in my telling of the story, but won’t try to change the story itself, because they know that it is the one thing that I hold dear. But they all will tell me to fuck off when they see the need for it. Or they wouldn’t be my friends. I love them all.

So let me apologize for any imperfections that you, the reader, have found in any of my books.

I do my best. My flaws build character(s).

And if you love the story and characters you have met in The Claire Trilogy, I can guaranty that you absolutely will love the story in Finding Jimmy Moran.

It’s not perfect. You will laugh. You will cry. You will wonder just how much truth there is. And you will wish that you could have hung around with these characters.

And, of course, there is Claire.

You will understand why the Jimmy Moran you meet in The Claire Trilogy, is who he is. Flawed, but redeemable. Like everybody else. Like you.

That’s what makes a good story.

But remember, it’s all fiction.

So now I have to go do the rest of those jobs I mentioned.

First, a kitty to cuddle, rounds to make, and torture to suffer.

You fine, five readers go out and do whatever weekend chores need to be done, and then enjoy yourselves. You’ve earned it.

But most of all, have a great day.

7 Responses

  1. I enjoyed your post today. Your comment about what constitutes a good ending reminded me of something the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said: “What the caterpillar calls the end, the world calls a butterfly.” I mostly live by that saying and focus on the possibilities for a different — and maybe better — future. Fly on, Tom!

  2. it’s a good story! πŸ‘πŸ»πŸ‘πŸ» Flaws in life, flaws in fiction. Nobody wants to read about perfection

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