Sunday, May 4, 2008

Unexpected Writing Challenge

The EBook is done! The rewrites/additions are complete and I've emailed the manuscript to Holly. The word count came in at just over 31, 000 words. Not too shabby methinks!

So that's a HUGE relief.

But my midnight scratchings were not over yet. I still had the dreaded 'sales copy' to write.

Despite the challenges of writing about eating disorders, racism and promiscuity I think this little assignment was the most difficult yet.

Yeah. The 'you-need-my-book-NOW!' kinda copy that just isn't me.

I had approximately fifteen false starts over a couple of nights before my husband suggested I write it like the despicable salesman-selling-knives at 2am character that irks me so much. Easier said than done. The only voice I could focus on was full of parody and downright sleazy something which I just couldn't put down into pixels. After all I DO think the book is worth a few dollars! It's going to be a great resource for anyone wanting to write about ballet dancers and should be fun to read.

So sleazy-salesman-Sam-speak didn't work.

I tried thinking about writing a sketch but the 'voice' again came out all wrong and sounding incredibly insincere, with the nonetoo-subtle underlying message of 'buy this - you sucker!'

Not good.

I needed to figure out my organic-writer-process and make it work for this job too. Middle-of-the-night.... self-reflection. Question: How do I normally start writing anything? Answer: I have a 'charged image'.

I realized I needed the same thing for the jumping off point for the sales copy to get me writing but it took some digging to find it - not because I couldn't think of wonderful ballet-related things but because I still have (yes, I'm inserting present tense on purpose here) this aversion to promoting myself and my work.

But I found it: little girls all over the world dreaming of being ballerinas, dancing around the house and begging their parents to go to lessons and to wear their tutus and slippers to scool... It occurred to me then that ballet was hard to avoid if you had a little girl! That means a lot of people know just a little bit - enough that if you're writing about a dancer, you'd better be checking your facts!

Once I got my image I tried to write it down. Again - many, many false starts. But eventually the right combination of words got me beyond the first concept and into the body of the text. now I had my entry point I knew why I, for example - if I were writing about dancers - would want this book and out came the rest of my pitch - because that's what it is really.

Not easily - no big writing 'flow' ensued but a certain rhythm eventually emerged and I got it finished in one (long) night. After a little tweaking in the light of day today (and with hubbie's critical eye over it) I was satisfied enough to format it for easier reading with spaces, bolds, and large eye-catching text... and I sharply told myself to stop noodling and sent it into the depths of cyber-space addressed to Holly's inbox.

She should see it in a few hours (I gather she's a morning person - the complete opposite of myself!).

Just the front cover to go now and that, I'm waiting on to proof.

I'll be adding content to my website between now and May 19 to make sure I'm ready for the few who might wish to explore the subject - and possibly my other writings - further. I believe in the whole 'under-promise/over-deliver' philosophy. It's rewarding for all involved and worth it.

I just wish I could download some sleep!

May 19th is getting closer....!

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