We drove down from the Catskills…
…to northeastern Pennsylvania to visit with my dad here for a few days…
…and as you see, they have trees in Pennsylvania too. 🙂
As you also see, I caught a gorgeous sunrise behind his house just around 6 a.m. Dad is also in better spirits than I have seen him in some time. Spring and warmer days may have helped his life outlook perhaps a bit.
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I had one of those writing moments early on Saturday morning here at my dad’s house too. These things often hit us in the middle of the night. Actually… in that case I mean about 4 o’clock in the morning.
I’d had a similar “epiphany” while finishing my previous book, Conventions: The Garden At Paris. Then an answer had come to me unexpectedly. I had followed my gut instinct and reworked “the problem” in that manner to my satisfaction.
This time I had felt for months I was making a blunder with an important aspect of two characters’ lives in the soon-to-be new novel. I feared what I had concocted might seriously damage the overall story and readers might think, “Huh?” Suddenly, at about 4 a.m. on Saturday a way out hit me.
Fortunately it did not require a huge rewrite, but merely to introduce two new minor characters and to revise some actions other characters had undertaken. It was a relatively smooth change that also created an unexpected surprise and plot twist. It took me all of an hour or so to clean up and redo.
One thing I have also learned over the years in writing fiction since 2012 is that you must leave your mind open to such “radical” alterations. Always consider what you do from a reader’s perspective. In that case having REALLY done so, I feel a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders: the book will be better now.
Sometimes as writers we must embrace seeing the proverbial forest for the trees.
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Yesterday was apparently “Indie Bookstore Day” in the U.S. I discovered that because an Instagrammer I follow and generally like revealed in a post that she buys her books only in one local independent bookstore. She announced as well that she never buys on Amazon.
Doing both is her right of course. That also means she has probably never read my books and likely never will… unless they ever end up on a shelf in that shop. But not reading them is naturally her right too.
I am a supporter of indie bookstores as well, and here, so to speak, is also my effort to distinguish the publishing forest amidst the retail trees. Indie bookstores sell books, yes, and allow readers to buy them on the spot in a pleasant, book-loving environment; several readers over the years have told me they have gone into a bookshop asking for one or more of my novels in order to get a store to order copies. However, no indie bookstore would even have any novels of mine to sell without Amazon’s KDP service which prints those books in the first place. In the end, were it not for Amazon if they even existed at all my books would be merely scribbles in notebooks I’d written that no one else would ever see, or perhaps unpublished Word files sitting in old PCs.
It is easy to criticize Amazon: it has become a huge global brand and it is hardly a perfect company. But attempting to turn one’s back on it nowadays for book choices is cherrypicking Luddite-ish; the same people probably use Gmail, or an iPhone, or drive a BMW car, or fly on American Airlines, or use other instruments of corporate modernity without blinking an eye. Taking her tack means that rather than exposing oneself to more books which are available from indie and other authors through Amazon, one is in fact restricting one’s potential reading to what such small local stores know about and choose to stock in their limited retail space.
Amazon’s online reach has enabled me as an author to reach readers nearly anywhere around the world. Authors of centuries past could only but dream of such. It is also worth remembering that too.
Have a good Sunday, wherever you are. 🙂