Tuesday, July 08, 2014

"When needs must, the Devil drives!"

You'll notice, Gentle Readers, a new page has been added to the Raven's Eyrie.  One titled "Editing Services".  Yes, I have joined a long list of writers offering their services as a mercenary editor (some call it "freelance", but I prefer the other).  Why?  And didn't you try this before?

Why is easy: it's preferable to delivering pizza.  Editing, at least, is within the scope of my career.  I do it to my own work; I've done it in the past, for a previous literary agent.  It's something I can do that makes me feel like a writer, and not like a guy who delivers pizza and writes on the side.

And yes, I tried this before.  As the Editorial Goblin, I edited a few manuscripts while suffering through the fog of depression and grief over the loss of my parents, and anger at being evicted from my childhood home.  I did not handle it well (and I still owe some poor soul for an editing job I never completed; this debt will be my first order of business . . . provided I have any business).  I honestly don't remember anything I edited, back then.

Ideally, I'd like to secure a couple of clients a month.  That should allow me ample time to edit their projects while also working on my own -- and it would allow me to dispense with the sideline of pizza delivery, thus saving my sanity and my car from further deterioration.

We do not live in a perfect world.  The lion's share of writers can no longer survive on just their income from writing.  So, we do what we must.  We do what we can to keep our dream alive and still put a little bread and wine* on the table.

And that brings us to this . . . me hanging out a shingle as a mercenary editor.  If you're in the market for one do keep me in mind!

*And by "wine" I mean "sweet tea".

Friday, May 16, 2014

Returning to the Eyrie

Welcome back, Gentle Readers!  Sorry for the unconscionably long silence (No posts since January?  Really, Scott?).  Work continues on A GATHERING OF RAVENS; I'm not done, yet, but I'm getting there.

When last I posted, the book had stalled out at around 37K words.  Illness and depression had kept me from adding more to it, and the narrative was bogged down in the mud of Wessex.  You'll be pleased to know that I dug in my heels and slowly shoved and scrabbled my way free of the mire.  I finished Part Two, which includes some very eerie bits regarding a nature spirit that has possessed the body of a dead man and launched his own anti-pagan crusade in hopes of making himself right with God; I'm now in the middle of Part Three, in Ireland on the run up to the climatic Battle of Clontarf.  By conservative estimate, I'm about 20K words from writing THE END.

I will endeavor to keep you better informed, Gentle Readers.  I'm feeling better, and I'm back on track (behind, as usual, but at least I can see the end of the tunnel).

Words needed: approx. 90,000-100,000
Words written, to date: 69,487

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Depression and the Writer

I struggle with depression.  This is not some bold pronouncement, indicative of some breakthrough on my part.  It is but a simple fact.  I'm a writer, and as a whole writers seem prone to depression.  Maybe it's a side effect of the unique brain chemistry that allows us to happily spend most of our waking hours alone with our own thoughts, watching the endless drama of character and conflict unfold in the theater of the mind.  Maybe it's part of the cushion that allows us to hold a dozen different conversations in our minds, with utter strangers we've conjured from our imaginations, without going insane.  Maybe depression is the outward expression of our craft, like the printer's ink-stained fingers or the smell of linseed oil that clings to painters.

Whatever its genesis, I struggle with it.  I have good days and bad, days when I feel normal and days when I feel like poor Dr. Jekyll, the monstrous Mr. Hyde lurking just under his skin.  My depression presents itself as lethargy, punctuated by long periods of brutal (and ultimately dishonest) introspection whereupon my sub-conscious expounds on its favorite topic: "1001 Reasons Why Scott Oden Sucks as a Writer."  It is Resistance at its most powerful and insidious . . .

And so, we fight, my depression and I.  It's pankration without the slenderest of rules.  We gouge and bite and throw elbows and try to beat each others heads in with rocks, with the goal being my desk and the work upon it.  I always win through, but some days I can only curl up and protect my vitals while that bastard kicks the shit out of me, then crawl to me chair while he gets his second wind.  Once I get my fingers on the keyboard I know I'm safe for a couple of hours, at least.

That's where I'm at, now.  Bloodied and bruised and feeling low, but with my hands stroking the keys -- making words from letters and sentences from words.  So screw you, depression!  You useless fucking toad!  What I write today may reek to high heaven, but you can't stop me from writing it!  Not today!

Words needed: approx. 100,000
Words written, to date: 36,660 (I edited some of what I wrote before the ill-fated Holiday Plague of 2013, trimming back a bit of useless verbiage)