lizvogel: Good / Bad (Good Bad)
Something that I realized from Bouchercon (which I will do the rest of the write-up on, I swear, Real Soon Now) is that "finished" has a wide range of definitions when talking about a novel. Enough times that I've lost count, someone would ask if I was a writer (this is arguably Bouchercon-code for "are you worth talking to"), and I'd mention that I'd finished my first novel, and they'd respond with something about "Oh, good; now you need to polish it / revise it / get an editor/beta/whatever."

This inevitably led to me blinking in quiet bafflement, because the conversation had just veered far enough off the track that I couldn't parse it in real-time. And as is usually the case when that happens, by the time I figured out where the point of divergence was, the conversation had moved on and the moment was lost.

You see, when I say my novel is "finished", I mean finished; not just written, but reviewed and revised and brought as fully as I'm able to the point where it's fit to be published -- or at least as close as I can get it until somebody with a contract in hand says otherwise. (Long-time readers of this journal might recall me musing about the definition of "done" when it comes to novels. There's the "done" that means you've typed THE END, with all the bits before that filled in; there's the "done" that means you've addressed all the tape-flags or whatever your method is for marking the stuff you've got to go back and fact-check or find better words for; there's the "done" that means the betas have come back with their reports on the last chapter, and you've addressed those; there's the "done" that happens after you get somebody, probably yourself but hopefully others too, to sit down and read the whole behemoth as a unit and see what still needs work; and so on, and on and on.*)

The default assumption among everyone I talked to, however, seemed to be that I was the stereotypical newbie writer who thinks the only step between typing the last word and being as rich as JK Rowling is to slide the still-warm MS under the bathroom stall door while some unsuspecting editor is trying to pee. I suppose there must be novice writers who fit that stereotype; stereotypes often are based on some grain of truth. But I don't know any of them; if anything, the novice writers I'm aware of err far, far to the other side, revising long past the point of return on investment, rewriting their opening chapters 20 times, throwing out completed manuscripts and writing them again from scratch, etc., etc. Perhaps it's simply that anyone who actually does finish a novel is assumed to be the opposite end of the spectrum, since the endlessly-revising folks rarely actually finish anything.

They thought "finished" meant "came out of the printer in one piece", and responded accordingly. I sat there bewildered as to why they were talking about something I'd plainly already said I'd done. Clearly, I'm going to have to install a conditional override for these conversations: If "finished" => "now revise", run subroutine "define finished".


*And at that, I revise less than most writers I know; even with the 15,000 extra words of "surprise revision", the first draft of the first novel is about an 80% match to the currently-final version. (Note that I can't even type "final version" seriously; I know better than to taunt the fates like that.)

lizvogel: lizvogel's fandoms.  The short list. (Fandom Epilepsy)
The drive to Cleveland went well. The alternate route around Toledo turns out to be the officially-marked route to get to the turnpike, and nicely avoids the interchange roulette that made our last drive through the area unnecessarily fraught. And the drive into Cleveland proper was stupidly easy.

We're staying at the Cleveland Hostel. It's a bit basic, but it's clean, functional, and in a fabulous location. (Not to mention half the price of the convention hotel.) About ten minutes from downtown by train, it's also basically next door to the West Side Market, a giant farmers-market type thing and a local fixture. The neighborhood is full of classic old buildings with little boutique shops and bars and ethnic restaurants in the ground floors. It's got that vibe of a once-prosperous business district that hit bottom and is now working its way back up. Very cool, and very friendly. We are half a block from a promising-looking coffee shop, and the RTA station is just around the corner. Also, there's a Penzeys across the street from the market; the housemate is in spice-junkie transports.

The hostel has a rooftop deck, and as I type this, I'm staring out at the Cleveland skyline, with the downtown towers all funkily lit and the stadium glowing like a flare. The moon's half-visible behind the clouds, and the Goodyear Blimp has swung past for a visit. The clock tower of the market is spotlit above the warm glow of the street. Off to the side, there's the Great Lakes Brewery and a verdigris-tipped spire. We picked up sandwiches for dinner from the local grocery, and ate them up here.

I think I'll get in a little writing before bed. My characters would love this place.

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