I’m super thrilled to have author Joshua Grover-David Patterson on the blog today talking about recycling of writing, or recycling and writing, what have you 🙂 Enjoy! and don’t forget to check out his work too!
When I went down the indie publishing road with my first novel, “Mercy,” one of the questions a lot of my friends asked me was whether I was going to re-publish one of my older works, a novella called “Pedestrian Wolves.”
I was torn. And to fully understand why I was torn, there are a few things you need to know about me.
First of all, I grew up in a recycling household. Every two weeks, our newspaper went out on the curb without fail. And our aluminum cans were bagged and stored and eventually fed into a machine that spit out pocket change when you fed it enough metal. It had, no lie, a goat logo on it.
When I got married, my recycling habits continued, because they were ingrained. They are, in fact, so ingrained that when I visit my in-laws in their non-recycling community, I often consider taking my cans and bottles back home with me at the end of my visits.
What? Don’t look at me like that.
On the other side of the equation, “Pedestrian Wolves” was not only a few years old, it had already been recycled a couple of times.
It started out as a screenplay that never quite managed to make it into the right hands. Then I came across a web site called Keep It Coming, which specialized in sending out bite-sized chunks of soap-opera-style stories twice a week. I spent three months converting the screenplay into little chunks of story, and then I realized that the site wasn’t picking up that many subscribers and decided to bring my relationship with the site to an end. (It eventually vanished.)
I took the little chunks of story and knit them together, turning them into an e-book which I offered for free at a no-cost host site. It was there for about a year, and then the host site died. I considered finding a new site and putting it back up, but e-books were in their infancy, and if anyone had downloaded the story, they never got in contact with me to let me know.
Years passed, and suddenly Kindle was a buzzword, and here was a chance to bring my book back out.
I was terrified.
As I said, I don’t like to waste. But more than a handful of years had gone by. My memory told me that the story was pretty solid, but that parts of it were overwritten (I had to put out 2000 words per week, which meant that a few characters spent installments sitting around thinking a lot), parts of it were awkward (I’m a better writer now than I was then) and that the story had failed to gain interest in three different formats… how many more times did my story need to crash and burn before I just accepted that no one really wanted it?
Friends of mine had read it over the years, and declared things like, “This would make an amazing movie,” and, “I couldn’t put it down, I HAD to know what happened next,” and, “The world you created is just so interesting, I want a second volume.”
I even had found an old copy and had given it to a friend just to clear some space in my house (there I go, recycling again!) and she had not only read it, she had to wrestle it away from ANOTHER friend who started reading it and wouldn’t give it back.
Of course, you can probably see the pattern here: These people were all my friends.
I needed an outside opinion. So I found a PDF and asked a book blogger who had enjoyed my stuff in the past to take a look at it. She read it while I sat around panicking about how awful it might be.
As it turned out, I didn’t have to worry about it. She thought it was great.
So I went back and reread it myself. And much to my surprise, it was a lot less painful than I thought it was going to be. Yeah, some of it was dated, and there were issues with point-of-view in some scenes, and some of the text just plain didn’t need to be there…
But it was fixable. And so I cut and chopped and sliced, and I re-titled it “The Werewolf Solution,” which was a much more descriptive name.
And when the recycling process was over, I had a book I was proud of.
Frequently when you recycle something, what you get out of it is not as good as what you put into it. Recycled paper generally comes back grey instead of white. A reconditioned household appliance often comes back with scratches and a shorter warranty.
But this isn’t the case with “The Werewolf Solution.” Over the course of four different versions, everything from the title to the dialogue to the tightness of the story has improved. And while I can’t promise you that my two-dollar book will change your life, put hair on your head, or improve your dating-and-mating chances, I can promise that you’ve never read a werewolf story quite like this one.
Read “The Werewolf Solution” on the Kindle
Read “The Werewolf Solution” on the nook
Read “The Werewolf Solution” on Smashwords