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View Full Version : Once you write a book/novel and it gets published is it really still your own



Searching
04-04-2010, 09:21 AM
You’re in a bookshop, browsing the newly released thrillers. One stands out and piques your interest. There it is, a heavy object in your hand, a beautifully designed jacket. You must have a closer look.

There is a cool wintery scene painted, and in the snow a large pair of bloody handprints. Interesting. Thirty Days of Ice. Check the author - you don't know him. But you know all the big players in the genre, and you know this fellow is new to the game. This could be you.

This is you.

Is there a difference? In your mind the letters rearrange and transform into your own name - your pen name, rather. Because this is not a standalone, this is a series, and you'd want to leave yourself flexible. Only, as you hold it in your hand, you feel miles away.

And suddenly this is not you any more. You are separated from it. Like your novel has just turned sixteen and betrayed you for the world.

The hand grasps the object. Smooth. Concrete and well defined, nothing like the creative process (read: torture) that lead up to it. Ninety thousand and thirty seven words disconnected from you.

Sure it’s impressive. But it doesn’t compare to the countless sleepless nights, to days of running one scene through your head, to months wrecking your head over what to call your MC.

Sadly, the parts feel greater than the whole. This feels like nothing you thought it would. Minus the emotional baggage, your baby is indiscernible between all the other babies on the stall.

Cover parts open. The smell of fresh print tickles your nostrils. It’s a beautiful smell. You read the first page - skip a lot just to get to the dialogue. It reads well. Realistic - this was tough. Very tough. You're not good with dialogue. You were not good with dialogue, but it doesn’t matter any more. Now, nobody would know the difference. It’s punchy, it fits the characters. At least, if it had bad dialogue, you could recognise yourself in it.

The hard part is letting go of what you’ve written. Accepting that people will plough through it in six hours, perhaps on a rainy afternoon, and forget all about it the next day. It might hang around the coffee table for a while, before it goes on the shelf, never to be seen again. It's not yours, anymore.

You don’t care. They can do what they want with it, you're just happy you have written it. At least until your next big thing. You have the idea in your head already, it is beautiful and marvellous and unique, like a little sun and when you finish it, it will be the greatest thing in the world.

timewaster
04-04-2010, 03:37 PM
You write. You publish. You move on. Nobody cares but you: it is just the way it is.

SPMiller
04-04-2010, 05:03 PM
As Wimsatt and Beardsley wrote, a poem (but really any text) "is detached from the author at birth and goes about the world beyond his power to intend about it or control it. The poem belongs to the public."

See also, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intentional_Fallacy.

The metaphor of publishing a work as being like giving birth to a child is an old one.

shaldna
04-04-2010, 06:17 PM
I don't really have this issue

Amarie
04-04-2010, 06:30 PM
By the time you're through revising, checking copy editing, checking galleys, etc., most writers are so sick of the book they're happy not to have to look at it again.

thothguard51
04-04-2010, 07:40 PM
Searching,

I think you're over analyzing.

If I made widgets with the obvious intent to sell them to the public, I am not going to hold onto the widget in some ill conceived attempt to proclaim it's my widget. If anything, I am going to improve my widget and make it better for the public, so I can sell more, and retire on a south sea island drinking fruity concoctions while watching bare breasted native girls frolicking in the surf...

Over attachments to our work can lead to stagnation... IMHO

Sage
04-04-2010, 07:44 PM
Personally, I'm hoping they'll read it in six hours (means they loved it, right ;)) and don't forget it the next day.

I don't write to hold on to my stories. I write to share them with someone (even if that ends up just being my betas). If someone finds joy in the story, whether for six hours or the rest of their life, I'll be happy

Jamesaritchie
04-04-2010, 08:26 PM
Say what? I just write the damn book. I don't stand in a bookstore and pet it like a stray cat.

It doesn't matter, anyway. The important book is the one I'm writing now, not the last one, and not the next one.

scope
04-04-2010, 11:53 PM
As much as I love all -- make that most all -- of my published books, I am delighted and relieved when one goes to press and I can concentrate on writing the next one.

Soccer Mom
04-05-2010, 03:28 AM
And suddenly this is not you any more. You are separated from it. Like your novel has just turned sixteen and betrayed you for the world.




Nope. It's more like the nineteen year old that's been sleeping on the couch and eating my food rent free. Time for baby to go out into the world and make some money for Mama!

Seriously though. It's not a baby. It's not the fruit of my loins. It isn't even my cousin Earl. It's a book. I hope people with read it and enjoy it and pay me for that privledge. I hope they enjoy it enough to pick up the next one with my pseudonym on the cover. End of story for me.

Bubastes
04-05-2010, 03:34 AM
Nope. It's more like the nineteen year old that's been sleeping on the couch and eating my food rent free. Time for baby to go out into the world and make some money for Mama!

Seriously though. It's not a baby. It's not the fruit of my loins. It isn't even my cousin Earl. It's a book. I hope people with read it and enjoy it and pay me for that privledge. I hope they enjoy it enough to pick up the next one with my pseudonym on the cover. End of story for me.

Quoted for truth. I have zero problems letting go of my work. When I send out a story, I always tell it, "Fly away, be free! And bring back a check!"

Cathy C
04-05-2010, 03:34 AM
By the time you're through revising, checking copy editing, checking galleys, etc., most writers are so sick of the book they're happy not to have to look at it again.

Second what Melia says. I seldom pick up my books once they're on the shelf. I love them dearly and am thrilled when people tell me they love the characters, were blown away by the world. But once it's down, and on the shelf, it's all about what's next. The door's closed and only the open door ahead holds any interest. :)

icerose
04-05-2010, 04:16 AM
If this is a big issue for you, NEVER become a script writer. Because I can almost guarantee you the final movie, if it ever gets made, will not be your script come to life.

jana13k
04-05-2010, 04:19 AM
By the time you're through revising, checking copy editing, checking galleys, etc., most writers are so sick of the book they're happy not to have to look at it again.
This!!!! And you really should never read your books once published. You'll always find stuff you wish you could change.

Jamesaritchie
04-05-2010, 05:46 AM
If this is a big issue for you, NEVER become a script writer. Because I can almost guarantee you the final movie, if it ever gets made, will not be your script come to life.

No, but the size of the checks in the screenplay business takes away the sting.

Jersey Chick
04-05-2010, 06:13 AM
By the time I've gone through the last edits, I hate my books. I hate the story. Hate the characters. Just want to get as far away from that world as possible. I don't read my books once they come out in book form.

Count me as another who doesn't see it as my baby. I do a little dance that it's finally finished, and then focus on the next project. That's all I care about once the final draft is off my desk.