Today I am so pleased to welcome Eric Alan Westfall to Joyfully Jay. Eric has come to talk to us about his latest release, Prince Ivan, A. Wolfe, & A Firebird. He has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving Eric a big welcome!
What’s up with all those words, Eric?
You mean the way I beautifully blend them to create…
Okay, I admit I’m a wordaholic, which anyone who’s read much of my stuff already knows is no big surprise.
I’ve never thought about it, until you made me answer this question, but I guess I must have some sort of feeling that if one word will do it—like the famous little dab of yore—two will do it better. Three are better still, and four or more? You’re on your way to achieve your brilliant best.
That even carries over into real life, in my “Typing For Dollars” part-time day job doing research and writing in a particular field. Some time back, I was in a meeting with two of the men I work with, both good friends over the years, talking about some project or other, and one of them remarked that my Post-It Notes™ are 8.5 x 11. We all cracked up, because it’s so very true. And as a slight digression, a couple of friends who are kind enough, for my birthday each year, to take me to the kind of upscale restaurant I can’t afford to eat at on my own, gave me an actual pad of Post-Its about that size the following year, to much having-consumed-lots-of-wine hilarity.
But I think it’s more about why I write.
Basically, I don’t write for readers, or whoever my potential audience might be. I don’t have the knowledge, much less the temperament, to “gear” anything I write to what a particular group might like.
I write for myself. I enjoy re-reading the things I’ve done. Going back and reading “Deus Ex Machina” in the story collection of the same name—a quite beautiful and touching fantasy Christmas story in my never humble opinion. The Rake, The Rogue, and the Roué—because damn! I love the love between Peregrine, Rory and Michel. Of Princes False and True—because even though some folks didn’t get or like my sense of humor, I do. Even the more recent 3 Boars & A Wolf Walk Into A Bar…—because it’s funny and raunchy and I like Wolf and the Boar Brothers, and had so much fun with it.
What does this have to do with explaining why Mr. Felcher’s Grand Emporium, or, The Adventures of a Pair of Spares in the Fine Art of Gentlemanly Portraiture is 198,000 words? RRR is just under 150,000? And IWF is just under 180,000?
It’s because those are the number of words I needed to tell all of the particular story. Yes, some editor might say that the chapter in RRR I wrote because Enny Kraft’s wonderful, wonderful cover suddenly inspired it, didn’t “advance the plot”—so cut it. Or that the chapter inspired by Roberto Quintero’s brilliant cover for Grand Emporium—a perfect moment between Harry and Reggie that was nowhere in the book at the time—could also be easily omitted.
Nope. Not going to happen.
At the first of September, I was at 163,000 words on IWF. I confidently—I really, really, really should know better by now—thought it would only take another 3,000 words to finish off the last scenes in several chapters. Thus the 166,000 word-length OWI said in the information so you all could decide whether to be part of this tour. But it turned out Ivan, A. Wolfe and Miki had much more to say about their lives and their questing adventures and some of the sex along the way. And it took another 16,000 by September 18 to get it done.
So this very old dog isn’t going to learn any new tricks to slice and dice and pare down a book when it’s done. If you all like it, as is, thank you. If you don’t, so be it. And if you feel I could have taken out all of “X” because it’s excess baggage, respectfully, if I did that, then it wouldn’t be the story I wanted to tell.
Make any sense?
How long does it take you to write the first draft?
My understanding of having a “first draft” is that you just keep writing the book until it’s done. Only then do you go back for line editing and copy editing, with or without someone else to help you with that part of the publication tasks.
I always have to go back to check the definitions of line and copy editing because they seem counterintuitive, at least to me. I think of “lines” as referring to a focus on specific lines, i.e., technical things like grammar, punctuation, spelling, internal consistency. “Copy” refers to broad swathes of text, and therefore looks at the flow of the story, the quality of the writing, the style, things missing, things to take out. Alas…it’s just the opposite in real life. *rueful smile*
So all this stuff gets done, you consider the recommendations (or figure them out on your own) and then you essentially do the book over again, in whole or in part, for a “second draft.” And so on until you’re satisfied you have a final version.
While it’s true that I tracked the “growth,” if you will, of IWF by saving each day’s work with a date in the file name—as I do with everything I write—I don’t write the whole book and then go back to line or copy edit. I do that as I go along.
I don’t write in a linear fashion, but move about in the story as the words arrive in my head, demanding to be put into pixels. But before I get started on that particular set of words, or perhaps after “I’ve gone as fur as I kin go,” I may start at the beginning and do both of those editing kinds of things for a bit. Or if I don’t have any words eager to be pixilated that day, I’ll just start re-reading and fixing/tweaking as I go.
The upshot is that by the time the book is done all the editing is done as well, except for whatever the last bits were. Pause to check the last stuff, and the first and only draft (as I use the phrase) is done and ready to head out into the world.
What do you get when you combine a greedy Great Tsar, his two cheating, bullying older sons, his youngest esser (shh! no saying that aloud) son, stolen gold apples, a Firebird quest, A. Wolfe who has the power t’assume a pleasing shape, a magickal sandstorm, as well as two bands and a full Symphony of Gipsumies?
A rollicking, roisterous Russian Fairy Tale, with vigorous esser activities in tents, halls, bedrooms and alcoves, with and without the assistance of PSTs. Plus princely parades, a duel over Gus, new lyrics to an old drinking song, and the possibility of bits of blood, gobs of gore or moments of mayhem. As required by CORA (the Code of RFT Authors), should these occur, your author will give you timely warning.
Ah. Still not ready to part with your kopek-equivalent? Consider the fun you’ll have reading chapters like:
“To Kvetch, Or Not To Kvetch? A Reader’s Choice”
“Ivan Has A Close Encounter Of The F-Word Kind”
“Second Direction Questers vs. The Caliph’s Sayer Of Sooths”
“Will Sasha Succeed In Seducing Prince Ivan?”
“Bad Prince Ivan! No Touch Cage!”
“A Travel Pause For Gratuitous Sex In The Tent—Which Does Not Advance The Plot—At The Insistence Of The Characters”
“A Necessary Interlude To Consider The Age-Old Questing Question: What The [Expletive Of Your Choice, Dear Reader] Do We Do Next?”
If you buy it and try it, you’ll like it, or so says your most talen…er…humble author.
p.s. If Karrie Jax and I have covered you and blurbed you to buy, look for “Dear Reader, Along The Way, Did You Happen To See The Allusion To Olivier?” in the TOC. It’s a spot-the-allusions chance at gift cards of $25, $15, or $10.
179,768 words of fun and frolic in this true tale, plus a 2162-word teaser from another MM fairytale: The Tinderbox
- UBL: https://books2read.com/u/mVKygJ
- Amazon: https://smile.amazon.com/dp/B08JHFSX5Y/
- Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/1043956
Eric is an American Midwesterner, and as Lady Glenhaven might say, “He’s old enough to have sailed with Noah.” In the real world he writes for a living, with those who would claim what he writes is fiction. His partner of thirty years—who died unexpectedly in 1995—enthusiastically encouraged him to try to get his writing published (mostly poetry back then, plus some short stories), but he didn’t have the guts to do so until 2013. At this point he’s not sure which was officially first, The Song, or Like a Mountain, Waiting.
Starting then, he’s published 13 novels and novellas, 1 poetry collection, 2 short story collections, and 3 short stories. God willin’ and the crick don’t rise, 2020 will also see The Tinderbox out and about. But since real life is, as we all know, a pain in the (anatomical site of your choice)…no guarantees.
- Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/Eric-Alan-Westfall-1045476662268838/
- Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/eawestfall43
Eric has brought a $20 Amazon gift card to give away to one lucky reader on her tour. Follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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