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On Creating by William L. Grant-Sherri Rosen Publicity, NYC


Even more than cleanliness, creating is next to godliness – so I believe.

I’m deep in the process of marketing an historical novel series – oh, the agony and the ecstasy!  First of six volumes completed (completed, but not finished; the rewrites and the worrying over a word or phrase never stop), and now embarked upon the most difficult quest: finding a literary agent and a publisher who possess the elevated good sense and uncommon intelligence to acquire my masterpiece.

I have had other experiences of creation:  marriage, fatherhood, starting businesses and organizations.  These bring with them the god-like problem of having to strain a fabulous idea through the mesh of people, places and things (see Genesis 1 & 2).  God must get incredible migraines.  At my level, it’s the burning eyeballs, graying hair, the aches and pains and worry.  (Okay, okay, there’s great stuff, too:  a marriage that works, a son who has come back into my life, and the satisfaction of making payroll last Friday even though the nation and the city are broke.)

But nothing is quite like writing a novel.  You create settings and people who wind up taking over your life.  I have a hard time staying awake past Rachel Maddow on MSNBC – except when I am writing a scene.  Then it’s two or three a.m., and sometimes dawn, and I have to force myself to leave the computer.  I do it with deep apologies to the characters, who perforce are stopped in mid-stroke.

Just a word about the characters.  I love them, of course.  The nastier, twisted, and more self-involved they are, the more I love them.  The heroic ones are me naturally, and they deserve all respect and praise.  The complex, tortured ones, however, that’s where the fun is.  

Frankly, what pisses me off about the characters is this:  whether noble or twisted, they are selfish little bastards.  Don’t leave me alone for a minute.  Always there on the periphery while I’m at my real job, arms crossed, feet tapping, glowering at me.  “When are you going to get on with it?” they demand.  “You’ve left us here, hanging!  We’ve got things to say, people to bump off, outrageous things to do.  And we need your ink to do it.  Let’s go!”

Now, excuse me just a minute.  I’m the author, right?  Which means, I’m god.  Where’s the respect?  Where’s the appreciation?  How about a smidgeon of love?

All they want is my fingers on the keyboard tapping out the words by which they speak, move and feel . . . the words which are muscle, blood and bone to them.  Can I just point out FOR THE RECORD, as one of my characters might opine, that when I was created, when the human race and the universe itself came into being, it was done with a wonderful economy of words.  Just a handful, really:  “Let there be light, let there be vegetation, let the waters teem with creatures, let us make man in our own image.” 

AND THAT WAS IT!  If God chose to indulge a few words in the centuries afterward, they were few indeed, and any of us humans claiming to have received them were ignored, declared insane or executed.  No, it was basically the atomic moment of creation, and we’ve been radioactive with the fallout ever since.  No constant nurse maiding.  Not the incessant outpouring of more words.  God’s pretty much left it up to us ever since.

Now, that’s respect.  And it goes both ways.



The snot-nosed demands of my characters, however?  Incessant, and insufferable.


I would tell them to get some Kleenex and leave me alone, except I parachuted them into 1886, and Kleenex hadn’t been invented.


One more thing they blame me for.  – Also the clothing: scratchy and constricting.  They’re lobbying for microfiber, the scum.





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This entry was posted on Friday, December 12th, 2008 at 12:48 pm and is filed under Industry News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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