- Andrew M. Trauger
Thoughts on Writing...
Updated: Oct 10, 2020
It would be much easier, Mr. Twain, if I didn't write those wrong words in the first place, no?
I started writing this novel series in 2008, I think it was. Back then it was just a "quick story" for a small group of people. I would be done and move on to something else. Boy, was I wrong. Cross those words out!
In case you weren't paying attention, I haven't published this first novel yet. It's 2020 now, twelve grueling years have past and I'm still crossing out words. Believe it or not, the original book--the first draft, which I hand-bound in leather, with all its lovely warts, and gave to my brother-in-law--was 800 pages strong, fully 300,000 words. Since then it's been self-edited something like a hundred times, tweaking, correcting, and polishing...along with a heaping dose of cutting, carving, gouging, and lopping off whole chunks like an axe murderer. After all that, I managed to get it down to 560 pages or 260,000 words. Clearly, I wasn't listening to Mr. Twain.
At this point, I'd like to raise a toast to my fantastic brother-in-law and his amazing wife, who have cheerfully spent several months of their lives this year providing a deeply scrutinous* eye to my writing. Not only has it been a lot of fun collaborating with them, but it has been humbling to have people demonstrate such love toward me as to read my story multiple times and provide keen insights toward its improvement. Sam & Melissa, thank you. I love you both!
I would also like to give some props to the critique group I have been paired with at the Realm Makers website. Realm Makers was begun a dozen years ago as a writers conference for Christian speculative fiction (or "spec-fic" if you're in the know) authors, providing advice and support to a niche collection of people. What started out as 60 people or so has grown into over 2,500, and is now a full website with editors, publishers, artists, and many authors all trying to grow the concept of Christians who write fiction...that just happens to be sci-fi, fantasy, horror, mind-bending, or surreal.
Today, I am happily--no, strike that--begrudgingly editing my book yet again, this time to get the word count below industry thresholds. I'm laying the axe to favorite passages, like the entirety of Chapter Six. You will be missed... But Mr. Twain says you gotta go. You were the wrong words.
*I know "scrutinous" isn't a real word. But it should be. It's the right word.