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Why are You Writing this Book?

I had finally started my Revision and was plugging away. But unfortunately I wasn’t really doing it correctly. The idea for Lesson one of How To Revise Your Novel (HTRYN) is to read through your entire manuscript with some specific Worksheets nearby, making notes and associating specific pages and lines with notes on the Worksheets. Sounds simple, but naturally simple wasn’t good enough for me. I have been doing what my writer friends call Polishing. I have been editing dialog, adding descriptions, changing grammar, and also sorts of other things I should be doing in Lesson 18 of HTRYN, but NOT in Lesson One.

It was explained to me as if I was sanding a piece of wood before I decided how I was going to cut it up. Some of the wood I had spent time diligently working hard to sand I would cut off and throw away, so wasting my time. Or I would be sanding wood that once I cut it, even if I saved it, I would need to sand it again to deal with the rough edges and again wasting my time. Bottom-line, the result of Polishing before I get through most of HTRYN would be WASTING time.

So starting tomorrow, no Polishing. I mean it. But please check with me next time we talk and ask me if I am still Polishing or not.

“Ah that gets a load off my shoulders,” I felt pretty good about making this decision.

Smoke started to rise from behind my computer screen and I pushed my chair back staring up at the smoke. “Oh crap!” was all I could think. My computer just crashed.

But then the smoke formed up, changed color, and a person was there. Well not a person. It looked like a genie. The firmer the image became I noticed that it was blue and when it finally solidified I was amazed. It looked the genie in the Aladdin movies. You know Robin Williams type of genie.

And I said….”Oh crap!”

Then a deep voice, the you are being called by God type of voice, said “Why are you writing this book?”

“Huh?’ Sometimes my words are as smooth as velvet.

“Why are you writing this book?” the blue genie asked again.

The question took me by surprise. Well any question from a blue genie in my office would probably surprise me, but this question was especially apropos. I had been thinking about this and had come up with all sorts of cliché answers. The genie made me think a bit deeper about it.

Well money came to mind, but in reality if you take the amount of money I will probably make off, at least, Book One divided by the year that I will have spent writing and revising it I will probably make about $0.03 an hour for my effort. So I guess money isn’t the reason (though it would be nice if I made a boat load of money off of it).

So what else? I sat for quite a while and thought over the question.

“Hi Phillip.” Willow strolled in and casually said hello to the genie. She dropped into her usual chair, leg over arm and looked up at the genie. “Whats Up?”

I looked at the genie and then back at Willow, and then back at the genie.

The Robin William’s genie dissolved and a short, bald headed man stood in the genie’s place. You know the little bad guy Vizzini in The Princess Bride that was played by Wallace Shawn. He smiled that little snear like in The Princess Bride and turned to my Muse, “Hi Willow, long time no…” he didn’t bother to finish.

“Same back at ya” She replied giving him a little salute.

“What the–” I had no idea what was going on.

Willow looked over at me and smiled. She has a lot of smiles. This one was the I know something you don’t smile. Then she told me as she pointed to the man. “This is Phillip.”

“I heard you before” I said a little irritated. A common thing that ran through our relationship.

“Phillip is…” She paused and thought about it before continuing. “He is like your subconscious. At least part of it. Just like me. His job is to bug you about things until you get them right.” She thought a little more. “So I guess he is a lot like me in some respects. But he is not very imaginative like I am.” She made sure to emphasize the last sentence.

“What about the genie. That was pretty imaginative.” Phillip defended himself.

“You’ve used that in the past.” Willoe argued back.

Phillip started to argue his point further then seemed to think about it and shut up.

Willoe smiled like the Cheshire Cat then turned back to me. “So what’s your answer to snake eye’s question?”

“Oh that.” Her comment brought me back to what I had been thinking earlier.

Why was I writing the book? Money. No, I already ruled that out. Then maybe ego. Well I have a pretty big one, but even I wouldn’t spend a year of my life slaving away on a book just to satisfy my ego. Though six months maybe.

Then it hit me. “I am writing the book because I want to entertain people. I want to create something that would last longer than my physical self (okay so yes to part of it being ego), I want to get people to think.”

“Get people to think!” Willoe asked her head tilted. “How so?”

I looked seriously at her and tried to answer the new question. “I don’t know. It just came to me like when you send me thoughts about something.”

Both Willoe and Phillip looked at me a little suspiciously.

I tried to explain it the best I could. “I never really thought about it before. And I hate to admit it, but I didn’t really come up with some major, thought provoking theme when I started the series. I just wrote because I enjoyed writing it. Yet I can see as I finished Book One that there were some strong themes running through the book. Themes that I hoped would strike a chord with my Readers.”

I sat back in the chair thinking about the various themes. “I realized I have always enjoyed and loved the concept of the underdog good guy battling against all odds to take on the really, really, I mean really bad guys. Though I also believe no one is all good or bad. Just more of one than the other.

I also had stuff in Book One about female equality. This was kind of a shocker to me. I know the story was about boy and girl, Twins, who secretly switch roles. So acting in each others gender was part of the story. But I didn’t realize that I would be showing the female becoming such a strong leader and having to be equal to the men around her.”

They both looked at me nodding their heads their faces full with acceptance and appreciation.

I thought a little more then added, “But I think one of the big ones for me is idea of brotherhood/sisterhood. People that would be there for each other through (cliché alert) thick-and-thin. The bonding of people that would do whatever it took to make each others lives better. Even possibly give their lives without question for each other. They help each other to solve problems.”

That got me a big smiles from both of them. And Vizzini even gave me an “Incredible!”

“Well that is pretty good…considering,” Willow smiled her crooked smile; which meant that she was complimenting me, but didn’t want to let it go to my head. I could accept that.

“This will work out really well then.” She smiled the I know something you don’t smile again.

I just looked at her with my, unfortunately more often then I would like, what are you talking about stare.

She waited, just the appropriate time to keep me on edge, then said, “I look ahead and guess what Lesson Two is all about?”

I thought of a number of things then realized the only thing it could be. “Go through the manuscript AGAIN and look to make sure that the themes are clearly defined and run through the entire book?”

Her smile got bigger and she gave me a sarcastic two thumbs up!

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