Monday, September 19, 2011

Kamikaze L’Amour

Here’s three tips for aspiring authors out there.

Tip one:
As part of your last rewrite, read your book out loud to a loved one.  I read to my wife every night, and I slip in a work or two of mine every now and then.  Here’s how to gauge the quality of your writing:

·         She’s asleep by the end of the chapter
 Too confusing!  Rewrite or cut the whole section.

·         She’s asleep within a few pages
 Good work!  Only fix grammar.

·         She’s asleep immediately
 Hide all the alcohol.  Make your children go to bed on time.

"No, honest, honey, I love your book!"
Tip two:
Write at the library.  There’s something about being surrounded by books that makes your own book seem more… Well, more possible.  Remember that most of the books around you are crap, but someone thought they were good enough to pay to print and market.  Your book can be that kind of crap, too.
Hint: you might have to type.
Tip three:
Before you sit down to write, go find your spot on the shelves.  Go to whatever genre section you write in and find where your book will sit on the shelf.  Look at the great (or mediocre) authors who will surround you.  It’s like meeting your future in-laws.
"Can I call you 'Dad?'"

I visit my book’s spot a couple of times a week.  It’s not a bad spot for a little novel.  It’s on the end, near the window and the cushy seats where people read or pretend to write novels.  It’s right underneath Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time books and between some constantly changing Star Wars novels and a never changing copy of Kamikaze L’Amour by Richard Kadrey.

In the months I’ve been writing at the library, Kamikaze L’Amour hasn’t moved.  I always wondered about that book, and why nobody checked it out.  You have to admit, the title is pretty off-putting, combining the oh-so compelling concepts Japanese murder-suicide and French love.  It also bills itself as a “Novel of the Future,” but is set eleven years ago.  My head hurts trying to figure that one out.
So, it's the future, but the past, but not really the past, because it's kinda like the future... OW!
Still, my book was going to rub covers with this psychedelic upstart, so I decided I needed to get know it better.  My own novel has been taking forever to write, so I vowed Kamikaze L’Amour would be the last book I read to my wife before my own.

Nearly a year went by, and Kamikaze L’Amour continued to sit there.  I was worried I would wait too long, and they would throw the book out from lack of interest.  Once, it disappeared, and I freaked out a bit when the library listed the book still being on the shelf.  Was it lost?  Had someone stolen it?  Had someone kidnapped my book’s fiancée?!  A week later, it returned, smelling faintly of cheap booze and some floozy’s perfume.  Kamikaze L’Amour had a wandering eye.  I was running out of time.
"Well, aren't you a fine piece of literature?"
Late last week, I checked the book out, took it home, and began to read it.  It’s an odd story, but compellingly written (and it puts the wife to sleep in two pages flat!).  However, I’m a little unnerved by how short it is.  My book is thousands of words away from being ready, but I can’t stop now.  I’ve thrown down the gauntlet.

Shoot, I need that back.  Has anyone seen my gauntlet?
"Yellow Author needs food badly!"

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