The Act of Revision

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Interviewer: How much rewriting do you do?
Hemingway: It depends. I rewrote the ending of Farewell to Arms, the last page of it, 39 times before I was satisfied.
Interviewer: Was there some technical problem there? What was it that had stumped you?
Hemingway: Getting the words right.
(Ernest Hemingway, “The Art of Fiction,” The Paris Review Interview, 1956) 1

Writing-revision

The act of revision is an absolutely necessary part of writing, no matter what kind. Essays, stories, novels, books all require that the author not be satisfied with initial drafts. “Re-vision” means to re-see, or to look at the work from another perspective. This idea is something I try to teach my students in College First Year Writing classes, and it is crucial that I apply the ideas myself to my own work.

When I look back over my writing of the last few years, I can see that I employ this practice. I wrote at five-seven drafts of the chapters of my dissertation for my Ph.D. in English, and I continue to revise with the novels I am currently writing. At this point, I have done seven drafts of my first novel, the supernatural thriller Evil Lives After; I am currently working on the third draft of my second novel, a young adult speculative work. The third is still in the initial first draft phase, but later in the year, revision will begin.  I am not sure if I will ever reach the levels of Hemingway with 39 drafts of an ending to a novel!

Of course, the writer can revise in several ways. Do we do a complete rewriting of the draft trying to deal with everything, or do we focus on a particular aspect of the novel, for example structure or characterization? I do not pretend to know what each writer should do. I suspect that it varies according to project and writer.

What I am certain of is that we must continue to work on the writing, trying to see it in new ways and looking for various problems to fix.

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1. From http://grammar.about.com/od/advicefromthepros/a/rewritequotes.htm 3/28/2015.

Jeremy’s Ham and Cheese Omelette

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(https://pixabay.com)

I will continue to give background information on the characters in my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I in a variety of posts in this blog. This entry focuses on Jeremy.

Jeremy Roche, the third member of the retired gentlemen who make up the central figures of the IPS, like his friends Roosevelt and Samuel, loves to cook and has amassed many recipes over the years. This one is one of his favorite breakfast dishes.

Ingredients: (For one person; if more are there, make each omelette separately.)

3 large eggs
2-3 slices of good ham (may be cut into small pieces)
2-3 slice of good Swiss cheese
Two tablespoons milk
2 oz. unsweetened butter
Salt and pepper
Cayenne pepper

Preheat a well-seasoned cast iron frying pan. Melt the butter into the pan, and swirl to distribute it evenly. Be sure to melt the butter, but do not burn it.

In a bowl, break the eggs, season with pepper, salt, a touch of cayenne, and add the milk. As the pan melts the butter, using a large whisk, beat the eggs until whipped, and then pour into the pan. Tilt the frying pan to distribute the eggs evenly.

Add the ham slices and then the cheese slices evenly in the middle of the eggs.

As the egg mixture begins to solidify, gently fold one side with a spatula and wooden spoon over the middle. Then do the same with the other, creating a three sided envelope.

When nearly done, gently flip the omelette onto the other side to finish it.

Then place on plate, and serve with rye toast.

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(https://pixabay.com)

Enjoy! This is Jeremy’s favorite breakfast meal to cook.

What is Young Adult and New Adult Fiction?

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As I worked on the third draft of my second novel, I started to wonder about an issue of genre and classification. My novel is definitely post-apocalyptic and speculative, but is it Young Adult, New Adult, or something else?

How are these classifications defined? Is it the age of the protagonist? The hero of my second novel is a sixteen-year-old young woman, so does that make this work Young Adult? Are all novels with a young protagonist necessarily considered Young Adult? I am not in any way suggesting that this is somehow negative; rather, I am trying to understand where this book fits in the publishing scheme.

Additionally, what makes a New Adult novel? Would such a book be aimed at 18-25-year-olds?

Does theme and treatment of the theme also play into the consideration of the classification of a work?

If anyone can offer any suggestions, please, please, please, feel free to offer answers.

Thanks to any who help.

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Roosevelt Franklin’s Guilty Pleasures

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Roosevelt Franklin, the protagonist in my horror novel Maledicus: Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, is a man who does not allow himself many indulgences. Despite being able to afford almost any whim he might desire, he does not grant himself many. He does, however, have two guilty pleasures that he loves to enjoy: fine cigars and good whisk(e)y. The spelling depends on if the alcohol is American, with an “e” or Irish or Scotch without the “e”.

Even though he has a heart condition and is 68 years old, he refuses to give up smoking one cigar and drinking a couple of fingers of whisky each day. He knows that he is on the downslide of life, but he does not intend to give up these enjoyments.

Roosevelt prefers strong cigars. He is a lover of strong flavors, from coffee to whisky and cigars. His favorite is a CAO Brazilia Churchill length. This cigar is intended for experienced smokers, with a deep, rich flavor and powerful smoke. Roosevelt chooses the Churchill length because he likes to make the experience last, usually at night and paired with a good whiskey.

Roosevelt enjoys good American bourbon and Irish and Scotch single malt whiskys. His favorite bourbon is Maker’s Mark, a standard of excellence. It is rich with a strong flavor, but it is also very smooth. His preferred Irish whisky is John Powers, a very smooth drink. His favorite single malt Scotch whisky is the 18 year old Macallan, as Roosevelt calls it—the finest whisky in the world. It is smooth, rich, and strong, with no bite. It is a perfect dram of whisky.

At the moment, Roosevelt is drinking a rare single malt Scotch whisky–the 15 year old Macallan, which is very smooth and has extremely deep and complex flavors.

Roosevelt certainly understands that not everyone will agree with his opinions on these cigars and alcohol, and he respects others’ views, but he holds firm on his sentiments.

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(images from personal photographs)

Samuel Sadlowski—Hidden Grief

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(https://pixabay.com)

In Maledicus Investigative Paranormal Society Book I, my horror novel, the protagonist Roosevelt Franklin, along with two very close friends formed a ghost hunting group. In a previous post, I gave some background information on Roosevelt, and I will give more in the future, but I want to turn my attention in this and future posts to his friends.

In today’s post, I will speak about Samuel Sadlowski, a retired homicide detective. Sam, as he prefers to be called, is a short, stout, balding man. In his youth, he kept in excellent physical shape, but in his older years, he has let his physical well-being deteriorate. He eats as much junk food as he can, and loves to drink beer. His seeming self-destructive physical choices are, in some ways, a reflection of his inner turmoil.

Like the other two men in the ghost-hunting group, he has had someone very close to him die, and it has had huge impact on his life. Sam’s son, Josh committed suicide when he was 16, and Sam never found a reason why the boy did it. Despite being an experienced homicide detective, Sam never discovered anything, any kind of clue, which pointed to a rational for this terrible action.

Of course, like others who had been friends or family of a suicide, Sam blames himself for his son’s death. He thinks that there must have been some indicator of a problem that he should have seen. So, Sam carries this grief and blame deep in his soul, and it drives him to try to find answers to the question: is there life after death?

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(https://pixabay.com)

Roosevelt’s and Sam’s friendship originated in the cauldron of the Vietnam War, when Roosevelt served as a 2nd Lieutenant and Sam was a Sergeant in his unit. The central experience of the war for them was the Tet Offensive, a massive attack launched by the North Vietnamese on the South, in an attempt to take the country. The two men fought together and saved each others’ lives several times.

Even though they came from vastly different backgrounds, Roosevelt from old upper-class and Sam from the working-class, their friendship was bonded in an unbreakable forge of life’s greatest perils. And they maintained that friendship over the course of many decades.

In another post about Sam, I will write about his hidden love of art.

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(https://commons.wikimedia.org)

(Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh 1889)

Evil Lives After—Submitted to Publisher!

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I have returned from a productive visit to the local post office.

I sent my manuscript to a publisher the old-fashioned way this afternoon, in a mailing envelope, complete with cover letter and self-addressed, stamped envelope. There are still some publishers that accept non-solicited manuscripts from writers without agents, and that describes my writing situation!

It is exciting to send it into the hands of an editor. I have put it through 7 drafts, so it is time for more feedback, and perhaps—acceptance. But that is now out of my hands. It is time to breathe deeply and to continue with the other writing projects.

Tomorrow I will continue with working on the 3rd draft of my second novel and composing the 1st draft of my third novel.

For now though, I have submitted Evil Lives After, a supernatural thriller, to a publisher!

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