Friday, January 23, 2009

About Your Story's Premise

Life's unforseen events sure have a way to distract one and delay your goals at times.  I thought I'd write a quick post to keep in touch.  Right now because of recent open-heart surgery, I've been unable to post, write or finish my book and I've missed another self-imposed deadline to self-publish.  It appears that I'm several months from editing my final draft, but trying my best to continue with my goals and at the same time survive this major surgery.  The good news is that my story is very polished and I'm about one quarter of the way proofing and editing. I wish I had more time to dedicate to it but my health is interfering since the surgery and I've been unable to continue posting here as well.

I'm determined of course to finish what I started 2 years ago and finally shop my MS around to see what kind of reaction I get from agents this time around.  Plenty of rejections to be sure, but I think I'll get a few requests for a full MS.  It's amazing what re-focusing and rewriting will do for a story. Sometimes the main idea gets lost in translation and before you know it, all your writing veers off into something close to what you want to say but not quite as focused as it should be. That had been the problem with my story until I finally had found a way to connect the dots and sharpen the imagery and the premise that I've been trying to crystalize for so long.  
Here's the thing: 
Sometimes you start out with a basic premise but somewhere along the way, you find a deeper premise, a more focused idea that will take your story where you really want it to go.  So unless you start out with a difinitive premise, your story may flounder for lack of focus.  You can of course have more than one premise in your story but that means that you'll have to be more careful and more strategic in not diluting the main premise which should be the central idea and the point of your story to begin with.  This is what I've been struggling with all along, but I think I finally have a good grasp of my storyline, which means that I know exactly where to start it and how to finish it. Big difference.  This is nothing new to me and I've always known the pitfalls of a weak premise but sometimes you just want to dive in and test the waters. In doing so, you can hopefully emerge from the depths of despair and save your story along the way, as opposed to letting it drown. 

I've worked out all the kinks, as far as I can tell, and I know one thing for certain.  My story is much more focused than it has ever been and its central idea shines through from page one to the ending.  That's a good feeling and a sense of achievement that has finally come together for the good of the story.  A learning experience that had begun with so many ideas that now make sense and work together to form a complete and cohesive story that everyone can enjoy.

BTW, many would-be authors think that self-publishing is the kiss of death.  It can be depending on many things. In my case, even if I had a million dollar deal on the table, I'm going to self-publish my novel anyway.   Only I can publish it the way I want it, with the cover I want and the title I think is best, and so on.  Besides, as a graphic designer, I do know a thing or two about book design and I have plenty of marketing experience to know what I want and what I think will work in the marketplace.  Publishers can do what they want with my novel in order to sell it, but this is my project first and foremost and even though I would like to land a million dollar deal, just like everyone else, I could care less about selling it just the same.  My work is done and it's done my way, with all my ideas and my words and nobody can take that from me. A big ego you say?  Hardly.  I don't have all the answers, but I do have answers to what's in my heart and soul and the kind of story I want to tell.  

Sometimes, we are the answer.

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BTW, I'm still working on the review for Toni Morrison's Mercy which is half done and I'd like to finish it and post it soon.  Her book is an excellent study.

Godspeed folks.  Hope to be back soon.

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