Whoever has taken the journey through the climbs and tumbles of storytelling can attest that the creator is NOT the only writer of that story. What I’m about to share may qualify me to some as a bizarre. mental case, but it would only be fair to give a portion of the writing credit of Extra Innings to the fictional characters themselves. Certainly, I created identical twins Jimmy & Billy McGee and all their family, friends and enemies, however, I’m sure that any writer would agree that after a while, the characters begin to tell the story themselves. After some initial personality and circumstance development has been established, a characters’ behaviors and reactions to incidents flow far to easily for my naked brain to deserve all the credit. At times, I do recall moments of writer’s cramp in terms of plot direction and development, but once each incident was etched into words, the reaction of each character involved was told by them specifically. This is particularly illustrated in Book 3 (“A Hero Among Thieves”) which includes poetry and music written by Billy while he was away at USAF Boot Camp and stationed overseas in Korea. I’d love to consider myself a gifted writer, but I must give a great deal of credit to the fascinating characters who live and lived through the pages of the Extra Innings Trilogy.
Where do we get patience? Is it a gift from above or do we develop it internally through moments and stages of suffering? I’m sure Job has his opinion on where patience comes from. Me? I’m feeling challenged with remaining patient as I await the publishing of my first book of the Extra Innings trilogy. I first finger to keyboard at the age of nineteen. Now, granted, I took a ten year hiatus but now I am thirty-seven years-old and still trying to find a literary agent and/or publisher. Ugh! Please Lord … give me MORE patience. How long does it take to find a reputable agent?? Damn!!
I was recently going to take the route of self-publishing, but I feel the story of identical twin brothers Jimmy and Billy McGee is too special to not have the potential of reaching a mass audience. The result of this near twenty-year writing period is an engaging milieu that I feel privileged to have been an instrumental part. Many of the sub plots were derived from real life stories I heard growing up from my parents and aunts and uncles. Additionally, the amount of research that went into authenticate Billy’s experience in Boot Camp and Korea during the early 1950’s was personally rewarding to me. I really enjoyed telling the teenage stories of these unique individuals although I must say, there were many moments the stories seemed to tell themselves. I think many writers can identify with that once they begin to truly get engrossed in the behaviors and personalities of their creations. So … stick with me folks. I’ll be making the book available to friends and family but as far as the self-publishing route, I’m reading too many negative reviews online from those who have chosen that route and not been satisfied. Maybe, as this journey, continues I will learn more about where patience comes from.
Everyone knows a good editor is the key to fine-tuning your literary works. What most people don’t realize is how to uncork the full potential of your editor’s talents and, therefore, maximize their value. Begin by engaging your own perspective through your editor’s point of view. What are they thinking and how are they feeling about this project? In my case, my editor, Mary Kay Landon, is a dear friend of mine. So I needed to consider that she may harbor feelings of anxiety around being too insulting with her critique. First of all, I needed to gain Mary Kay’s favorable attention by appealing to her pride. This is done by identifying your editor’s strengths and the potential value she will bring to your work and sharing these acknowledgements with your editor. The concept of favorable attention was taught to me by my father, Wes Gibson, who learned it from his father (my grandfather) Charles Gibson. Gaining another person’s favorable attention helps to create an ally by appealing to the individual’s pride by giving them a positive compliment. This simple action helps to lower their tendency to object or resist what you’re about to present. Try it. It works!
Next, being the book’s author, it was my responsibility to initiate and establish an understanding that I would not be insulted or hold a grudge regardless of her commentaries and general feedback. In other words, I was not going to allow any such threats to jeopardize our friendship. Creating and, more importantly, following through with this pledge helps to eliminate any resistance Mary Kay would have had to sharing every ounce of her thoughts about my work. And make sure you are prepared to embrace whatever criticism your editor provides. Remember, it’s a privilege to have their fresh eyes reviewing your hard work.
Ultimately, removing this threat of Mary Kay holding back from sharing everything she was thinking and feeling (both good and bad) would deliver better results and it worked! Book 1 of my Extra Innings Trilogy: The Diamond Thieves, is an enhanced and much easier read than before I handed it over to Mary Kay. The value gained through her observations will be forever appreciated. Thank you Mary Kay for your hard work and discernment.