_ I have just finished my latest novel, which is my fifth. It is the literary equivalent of launching a space probe to search for life in the universe. It is about as easy to attract readers (unless one wants to spend a lot of money).
Now, I can finally get around to sending Christmas cards...
There is a sappy phrase about the “journey” being essential (this may be English, because I hear it a lot on British television), but writing a book is just that. It is a long and difficult slog from beginning to end. The easiest part is writing the first draft of the story...and then the frustrating process continues. Once on paper (and then in the word processor), it can be changed...and changed...and revised...and fixed...and revised...and so on, for what seems like forever. One does not write a novel, one re-writes a novel. Each word is frequently considered, weighed, and put to work, even if it might be chucked in the next draft. Phrases are written, moved, changed, discarded, added back...and still questioned. Words have too many synonyms to make life easy. Which one sounds best? Which subtle meaning works best?
Once you think that you are finished, then editing and proof-reading prove that you are not. During this phase, anything can change and much does. One learns that Word’s auto-correction tool for grammar and words is unreliable (and makes mistakes! For example, it now tells me to change “is” in the previous sentence to “are”, which would be incorrect.) Each paragraph, line, word, and punctuation point must be controlled and scrutinized. And, you will still find mistakes, because you read too quickly and have the bloody content engraved into your brain. Even worse, once it is finished and printed, you still discover something that you wished you had written differently...but it’s too late.
Still, it is an enjoyable pastime. One can travel anywhere in the world and to any period. One can meet new people and make them be as you would like them to be. If you do not like history or current events, you merely adjust things to your liking. Truth is not important, but plausibility and accuracy are. One can lie and make things up with impunity.
As my new baby floats off into uncharted territory, I will take some time off and then start re-writing the next one. Like an airplane engine that works best when not shut down, my brain needs to keep spinning.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.