sick as a writer writing to be lighter than the uncanny

So, I tend to concentrate on the ‘art’ side of the book thing, essentially because this is a primarily ‘drawingy’ blog.

Clearly though, the text is equally important and actually proving a lot harder than you’d think. For someone who is never really known for writing particularly succinctly (although I don’t talk a lot, to be fair) it’s very difficult to strip things down to a max. 1000 words or so. The hardest bit I find is losing all the backstory or exposition but if it’s all there and worked out in the back, the front is a bit better I guess. Check out Jeff Vandermeer’s books for a good example (not kid stuff…).

Daisy, for example, is currently a couple of hundred over that and needs to come down. Im my excitement/desperation to get noticed/published/paid I keep firing off books to publishers and agents when they are say 80 or 90% there. I’m sure this is a mistake, but hopefully (a) they’ll forgive me when I send them a ‘proper’ one or (b) I’ve only picked the naff ones so far (if anyone who’s had the book so far is reading this, CLEARLY I am joking).

But it’s made me ponder the way it all comes together and I should really discuss that as much as the art alone.

Stories are not a problem. I have, probably 12 or so concepts/stories/ideas that are good or good-ish to go. The next step is to write the manuscript. I’ve taken to doing this as a first run through by waffling into a dictaphone – often whilst taking E to nursery. I’ll then type up the first splurge draft and return to it several times to pare it down.

Then I’ll do a few out loud reads – which really show up any ungainly or overlong bits (yes, like this entry, I know…bright scribbles be back soon…).  By this point I’ve roughed out what text goes where and how many pages etc so I’ll then do a mock up book with text inserted. Then I move onto the drawing stuff purely and get the layouts all done.

This is around when I start sending stuff out or posting stuff here. BUT, as soon as the two come together it is immediately clear where text should be reduced or changed or tweaked. So this is about where I am now with Daisy, and I really need to learn to wait before sending stuff out…

Anyway, sorry ’bout that. Hippo!!!!!!


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