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Vetting Fiction
How a Special Ed. Graduate Who Failed 9th Grade 3 Times Intends to Edit Fiction: 9/19/2022
© 2022 James LaFond
JAN/5/23
I shall hold off on editing the first priority novel, Seven Moons Deep, until I am in Portland in possession of the print draft to be marked up by my reader/host there, and in email contact with the other reader and the writer of the forward.
American Dream Boat and Uprising are already in Lynn’s capable hands. That knocks the fiction list down to ten titles for me to edit while in Utah:
-2. Ghost Snatcher
In the Company of Heroes in the Shadow of America
2019, 14,597 words,
-3. Juan Stabone
Tao of the Last Good Cop
2020, 10,759 words, need a photo of a late 1970s BPD cruiser
-4. Confessor
A Tale of Ancient Oth
2019, 11,832 words
-5. Prentice Dolphin
An Epic Mission of Soliloquy
2020, 17,567 words, graphic of a snowbound cathedral, church or castle
-6. Beyond the Pale
The Seven Fantastic Heresies of Heshman Shew Mote
2021, 28,305 words, graphic in hand
-7. Sorcerer!
The Acts of Awes West: A Tale of Elder Earth
2022, 37,050 words, Wyoming graphic
-8. Ranger?
The Acts of the Knights Trace in Awes South: A Novel of Elder Earth
2022, 64,919 word
Other Elder Earth novels are in outline form.
-9. Wake Christopher
or Whack the Blue, a Novel
2022, 20,014 words
-10. Writ Hate
Land Whaling Among the Eaters—A Novel
2022, 15,207 words …
-11. Holiday Blue
A Novel of Titanic Ennui and Rebirth
2022, 34,909, a graphic of Earth from Space
The Process
Editing my own work in fiction is more effective the longer it has been between the writing of the story and my examination of it. I am content to have my editor do this. However, I have saddled her with an enormous workload, a load which will compromise the rate at which history books can be published. The imperfect solution to this is for me to take up the fiction slack by taking a month off of writing and instead editing. The time I was going to spend on writing Wife—, and Timejacker, will be spent editing ten outstanding novels in the inventory.
The nightmare I had about the outstanding novel inventory, that sent me into this rare spiral of self-doubt, concerned the notion that Ranger was my best novel and that the two written since then were weaker and that I might have passed my apex as a novelist and be winding down. Haunting these dream doubts was the fear that I might be repeating myself in narrative.
I woke with the notion that I might be able to improve as a novelist if I curated the outstanding selection of novels currently most lost in the publication shuffle.
Methods for self editing I have chosen are:
-1. To approach the work as that of another, earlier self, and resist the temptation to spruce things up.
-2. To limit changes to clarity sentence breaks, spelling corrections, and restoration of any consistency that might have been permitted to lapse in the text.
-3. To resist the temptation, by footnote or insertion, to bring the previous worldview of the writer into line with that which his current, older, more learned and more decrepit version might currently hold.
-4. Overall, to only correct, and not seek to improve the work of the earlier and now partially to mostly deceased author.
-5. To ‘vet’ rather than ‘edit’ the work as something worth sending to the publisher.
The concept here, which I shall try and abide, is to respect my previous perspective and resist the temptation to bring the novels written by a younger, more energetic and less experienced hand into concord with the current state of spiritual erosion which this human stain is undergoing.
Most importantly, I wish to respect the place and time in which these novels were written, and not intrude upon those works from this place, and this time, realizing that fiction—at least that written by this man—is an impressionable art influenced by the geographic, human and chronological space in which it is composed.
The Collaboration
Andy Edwards will be the lead author of a book to be framed by him and written by the both of us, a pulp story that will feature either a mythic or near future setting. My job will be to write characters in Andy’s story. He has less time than I do to devote to this. So, I suspect I will doing two thirds of the narrative. I hope, that practice staying faithful to the now departed visions of a man out of my past, will help me abide by Andy’s vision and assist in charting an excellent Pulp Fiction novel of esoteric challenge and triumph. I am thrilled that Andy has engaged a visual artist for this project and am using this editing process in part, as a means of training myself up for that joint task.
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