Started this discussion. Last reply by Joyce Ann Fugit Mar 27, 2011.
My now deceased ex-wife and lifetime friend, once called me a "Magnificent Hack." By that, I assumed that she was either damning me or praising me, but we have always been friends so I opt for calling it praise.
Like most writers--at least I've been told--I have a magnum opus that I will probably never be satisfied with. I've only been working on it since 1993 and perhaps even earlier than that.
My first ego booster came when my "Advanced Creative Writing" professor looked at our first pieces and in the next class began with, "A number of these pieces were good, but one ..." He shook his head and clicked his tongue, then read my first effort "Sunday on the Rhine" which became the springboard for my first Atlantic Monthly submission.
I'll share something here which I am sure many writers have experienced. (It's happened to me twice and once recently.) I was rejected, of course, what first efforts aren't? But the last line of the rejection, which they must have been using forever and probably still are, was, "You write with a facility that has held our attention." That's the kind of thing that kept me going until I sold my first book to an editor who said, "I like the book, but a need a cleaner manuscript." (Take heed new writers.)
Another thing that kept me going was in my college clique, if you can call a bunch of outsiders a clique, when one of the group said, "You know we all talking about writing, but Jack will be the one who won't give up. (I sold my first novel and my first shortly before I graduated.) I believe that the others are now all academics--some of whom have made the news for notable exploits.
Sometimes today, I will look at a line or a paragraph or a story or even an entire novel and think, "This is crap," or "This is terrific." There's never an in between. Ironically, I'll often think the same thing at different times about the same line, paragraph, chapter, or story of my own. That's an attitude that many writers have, why should you or I be different. (This perception was verified by a recent award winner whose work and opinion I respect.)
Oh, yeah, about that hack thing: For while, I was publishing one piece of crap after another, and selling most of what I sent out. Now, I'm more discriminating about what I send out, more discriminating about what I write and publish--well, usually. It's nice to have a few extra bucks coming in.
My opus has been through several cycles in its twenty-some years. Once, I even an agent even called me out of the shower on Sunday morning to tell me I had a bestseller on my hands--two weeks later, he decided not to handle it.
In the later 1990s reincarnation of the same book, an agent agreed to handle it. She sent out what I had sent her as a final draft to ten publishers at the same time. The book--my fault--was minus 100 pages in the middle. She claimed she liked it. She seemed never to notice that it had continuity problems.
I've been nominated for The Shamus for my Paperback Original "Shadow of the Dahlia," and for both the Shamus and Anthony for my short story, "Munchies." ("Shadow" and a volume of stories, "Munchies and other tales of Guys, Gals, and Guns," is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other outlets.) You can she the entire Jack Bludis list at Amazon. My current favorite is an Amazon Novella, "Dirty Work." which is available at Amazon.
Jack Bludis, updated 11-11-11
Posted on August 1, 2007 at 6:49am — 5 Comments
Two of the last three books that I have read "The Road" and "No Country for Old Men." And they are probably THE two best books I have read in the last twenty years.
The style is unique, but well planned. The text conversational complete with some phonetic spelling,…Continue
Posted on May 25, 2007 at 11:00pm — 16 Comments