Which is more challenging?

Family-Eternal-2-Cover-v2-HiResFrom the desk of W. J. Onufer…

A question for all the writers. Which is more challenging- when your Editor makes a lot changes to your first draft…or when they make minimal changes?

My Editor, Christine Piesyk, lives in Clarksville, Tenn. I live in Chicopee, Mass. We edit anything I write together. When I make the trip to Clarksville, we do that together, in the same room, line-by-line. But most editing is done via share screen on Skype.

I mention that, because, this past weekend. Christine took a lookee-see at a short story I wrote, again via Skype. Christine and I go way back. She is, in the very real sense, my writing mentor. Now she’s my Editor. In all the highs and lows of putting out the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books since the first one came out in 2015, Christine has been with me for the whole strange trip that it’s been. That means, early on, she’s seen my writing when it’s needed…help. And over the years my writing has improved- mostly because of the doses of humillity Christine has issued me in that time.

It’s not fun but I’m sort of used to those doses of humillity by now. I’m used to Christine pointing out stuff that needs to be rewritten, chopped-out entirely and sometimes, simply trashed and start over. She gives it to me straight when something is working and when it isn’t. And frankly, I count on her for that. We’ve gotten to the point, however, where I get it right more times than not now. Christine didn’t change anything in that short story this weekend. She did correct some spelling. (I’m a writer not a speller.) But no revisions. No rewrites. No moving copy around.

And that, my writer fiends, is more challenging than when Christine goes up one side and down the other on me, on all the things I get wrong. It’s a mini-freak-out of the most enjoyable kind. I got it right? All of it? Seriously?

The only thing more challenging than failure, is success.

I really don’t have any excuse for producing crappy writing. But i’m sure if I do, Christine will let me know.

What has your experience been in this reguard? Which is more challenging- the ego-crushing corrections of your Editor…or the scary new expectations of having to maintain that new level of writing quality when your Editor’s red pen appears less frequently?

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A Curious Thing Is Happening

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

Since the release of my most recent novel earlier this year, I’ve turned my keyboard activities to writing short stories. After the release of The Family Eternal: Part Two, the new Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel, I felt as if I should jump right back into it and get started on the massive amount of work that goes into completing the first draft of the next book in the series.

https://store.bookbaby.com/book/The-Family-Eternal-Part-Two

I had some ideas, but for some reason, the flow just wasn’t there. It wasn’t jelling. I was forcing it. My Editor told that I should get way from it for a while. Take a break. Come back fresh.

Now those of you, like me, who have continuing characters in your books, know that you can’t just shut that off. You know that your characters talk to you all the time. Hadley’s never very far away from me and demands my attention when she wants to show or tell me something. My temporary inability to put that into words in a long-form novel is on me, not her.

Some might say that I’m having a bout of Writer’s Block. But it’s not exactly that. Writer’s Block is when you don’t have any ideas. But with me, Hadley’s still around. My little Vampire gal muse hasn’t abandoned me. She still talking to me. I’m just not ready quite yet to jump into the deep end of the pool of starting to writing the next book.

So with Hadley still around, I’ve taken to writing Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price short stories. Small, briefer, self-contained pieces that are more concise and quicker to the point. And Hadley I have written several since the beginning of the year- some of which I’ve recorded for our Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price Short Story collection on Mixcloud.

https://www.mixcloud.com/warren-onufer/

I’m actually having a lot of fun with this short story format. It’s a totally different kind of writing than novel-length books. And initailly at least, it took some getting used to. My Editor keeps telling me that, in short stories, I need to get to the point much quicker. Short stories are a zero tangent zone.

But in writing these short stories, a curious thing is happening-

While writing them, I find that I’m doing something within that, on a consistant basis. This aspect of it is nothing I’m overtly aware of doing. It’s nothing I planned nor made any concerted effort to have this result. But that result is absolutely consistent. It works out the same every time.

That consistency is this: My short stories are never less than 7 pages and never more than 9 pages. Yes. Short and concise.

We all know that 1,000 words is 4 pages, give or take, when you double space on the first draft. So all my short stories clock-out right around the 2,000 word mark.

Every. Single. Time. Without fail.

I finished the first draft on a new one this past evening that came out to 2,200 words- yes, that exact number -and just about a paragraph short of completing 8 pages.

Has anyone else experienced this? A consistency is your writing that you have no awareness of, until you become aware of it? Something that stays the same, with nothing in the way of being pro-active on your part to make that happen?

Family-Eternal-2-Cover-v2-HiRes