I started writing about my alien people almost eleven years ago. I also did other things during that time: wrote a doctoral dissertation, had a major breakdown, was homeless for seven months, spent three years being able to only deal with one major thing a day–and by major, I mean going to the doctor or doing my laundry. But I kept writing, and to my surprise when the story was DONE–it was the length of a trilogy: Moby Dick and a half.
I then found out that agents weren’t magickally falling out of trees, and began the almost as difficult process of finding somebody–anybody–to just read the sheeping thing. I found a few, and most of them gave up early. One said that I never used an adjective if two would do. As you might imagine, my iddle feelings were hurted, but then I got a sympathetic writing buddy who made me sit down with a couple of highlighters and underline all my adverbs and adjectives. Whoa Nelly! I gave up on the adjectives after a few pages, because the adverbs were bad enough. I then pounded hard on the first volume–only to give up after a year of pounding because I didn’t know how to sell a book that had only one third of a plot curve.
I turned my back on it for three years and wrote Max instead. Still no agents stalking me in dark alleys, but I discovered something tonight, when starting to go through the other book again. (I got bored, k?)
For over a year after the first draft of Max was done, I rewrote and polished and had it beta-commented and all kinds of stuff, until I said ENOUGH (babies were going out with bathwater with every new run-through). But–it seems to have taught me a lot about writing, at least compared to the trilogy, as I discovered to my dismay just now. Never one adjective if two would do, indeed! Mind you, Max has its flaws (all books do), but at least it’s readable.
As a prologue, I tacked on the short story which was the first thing I wrote on the topic, so I peeled it off and will beat it with a stick, then run it through here for your amusement. Once it’s, you know, better.