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Listening to your writerly Spidey-sense

I’m at the public library sitting at one of those funky workstations way in the back—the kind that just needs a wall-mounted phone and a sheet of plexi-glass and you’d feel like you’re in the visiting-room of a prison.

Oh yeah, this is where the magic happens. 

I’m sitting between (looking at the stacks to my right and left) Cocaine: The White Gold Rush, and a row of short course guides to the GED. So if this whole writing thing doesn’t pan out, I can skip high school and sell bags of blow in South America.

Actually I’m here writing, since my home office has been overrun by a plague of teenagers on this crime against productivity known as summer vacation. (I called the exterminator, but he said these feral creatures couldn’t be classified as rodents if they wore Converse shoes and begged for rides to the mall).

So here I am, in my fortress of public solitude. 

I’m working on a complete rewrite of the new book. I know…I know…I turned it in a couple of times. And lots of people liked it. But deep down, I had this fear that I’d written the literary equivalent of Spider-Man 3 (the movie). Those who have seen that particular train-wreck of a film and its far-superior, near-perfect predecessor, Spider-Man 2, will know exactly what I’m talking about.

Basically, the new book had a LOT going on. Many layers, many characters on the stage—all of them competing for attention and it was simply too much.

So I’ve pared it down. I’m currently about 100 pages into version #2,591—something like that; I might have exaggerated a bit. But it’s so much better. Sure, you might have to wait a bit longer (next summer, maybe?) but you’ll thank me for it.

Because as Uncle Ben once said to Peter Parker, "With great power comes great responsibility." And I don't want to be responsible for a bad book.

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Reader Comments (5)

WOW. I applaud your dedication to the story. How did your agent and editor react, though??

I know my first ms needs a full rewrite, but I also know that for a long time I wasn't ready to tackle that. I think I could be now... but I've got other projects that are more timely. Still, I look forward to making that first book really work. Really shine.

Yeah, I can understand this call that you feel you must answer. :)
June 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristan
So - we wait. I'm good with that. Please don't cut any tunes out of it. ;o)
June 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave Dubé

It confirmed things my editor was thinking as well. And my agent is always in favor of putting forth the best book possible. Better to wait
June 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJamie
2ndtues.com book group will reserve a spot in our 2012 reading list for "Jamie Ford's 2nd novel" whether January or July, April or August - we are anxiously patient readers!
June 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie Takami
While I was hoping to have this tome in my hands sooner rather than later, I admire how you have instead chosen to make it the best writing you can put out (so far anyway). There's nothing wrong with choosing that. Hell, as you pointed out we all wish the writers had taken just a wee bit more time before inflicting us with Spidey 3. No worries, Jamie. Good luck with the re-writes (and hope you get your office back soon LOL).
June 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEric Stallsworth

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