Monday, July 9, 2012

Yes, I Write More Than One Draft

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The other night I was watching Stephen King's Misery. Good flick, but not totally believable. I mean I bought the bit about the romance author being held captive by the deranged fan. Do a Google search and you'll find similar accounts of real-life events. No, I'm talking about the male lead, Paul Sheldon, producing a perfect first draft on a manual typewriter no less. Yeah, right. Like that would really happen in real life. The other unbelievable scene is when he and his agent are discussing the fact that his novels put his daughter through college. Really???? Hey, it's only a movie, but that scene made me laugh.

Okay, so the book was written in 1987. Back then the traditional publishers, (or the Big 6 as we authors like to call them), ruled the industry. They really did give big advances, at least to some authors. And I suppose that back then some authors probably made a good living off their books. No doubt Stephan King was one of them. However, it's certainly not the case today, but I digress.

Watching those perfectly written first drafts coming out of Sheldon's typewriter was a real hoot. Fun scenes, but pure fantasy. In the real world, we authors write many, many drafts and revisions. And then a funny thing happens when we write, particularly when we write novels. Our characters come to life, and they change and evolve right before our eyes as the plot unfolds. This means we may have to go back and rewrite earlier chapters. (Which I actually enjoy doing.) The point is that what you read in my books is the result of many rewrites and revisions, and that's before sending the manuscript to my editor.

But hey, I still enjoyed the movie. We authors love our fans, and Misery is a nightmare fantasy of a worst-case author-fan relationship. If you like suspense, without a lot of blood and gore, I recommend it.


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