Master of Horror

Is Writing A Lonely Profession?

Well, this is the way it’s often been described. but I beg to differ.

I see the writer as part of a team that consists of three members (principally); without each member doing his/her job to the best of their ability, the writer’s work won’t get off the ground.

Let’s, for a moment, think of the ‘building’ of a book as the building of a new car in an auto factory: basically, we have three team-members: the Mechanic, the Detailer, and the Spray Painter/Polisher. That’s taking the task of building a car (book) back to its most basic units of work, of course.

The Mechanic has the task of putting together all the metal panels, glass panes, and engine components, and bolting them together so they work properly.

The Detailer has the job of totally cleaning the car so it looks inviting to the customer who comes along and peers through the window to look inside.

The Spray Painter/Polisher has the task of applying the attractive color to the car, then buffing it to a high gleam so the customer will WANT to open the door. If he/she just looks at the car, sees it hasn’t been polished or spray painted properly, that customer won’t be enticed to open the door and look at the work of the Detailer in cleaning it; and the customer won’t be enticed to turn the ignition on to see if the car works, and how well it works…in which case, the customer leaves the showroom and wanders off to another dealership.

Bet you guys and gals can see where I’m going with this, can’t you?

Now let’s replace the Mechanic with the Writer: the metal panels become the ingredients of the PLOT, the glass panes become the CHARACTERS, and the nuts and bolts become the WORDS, PUNCTUATION-MARKS, and SENTENCES, all fitted together in the best possible way so the whole thing fits together, with no bits left hanging off.

We now replace the DETAILER with the PUBLISHER, who goes over the book (car), finds one or two loose nuts or bolts (over-used words, perhaps the odd detail the writer has not covered adequately) and sends the book back to the WRITER to have those nuts and bolts tightened up properly before saying: “Yes, this is driveable; it will hang together properly.”

Now we replace the SPRAY PAINTER/POLISHER with the COVER DESIGNER. And their job is to apply the color (details on the cover) and then POLISH it (give it a good finish with the title and the author’s name prominent) so you’ll be enticed to open the cover and see what’s inside.

Just like the mechanic, the detailer, and the spray painter/polisher, if the WRITER, the PUBLISHER or the COVER DESIGNER fail in their job – any one of them – the book might go on the bookstands – but it won’t sell. The PLOT doesn’t hang together properly, the CHARACTERS aren’t believable or act out-of-character or, in some cases, do things people aren’t supposed to be able to do; there are the wrong WORDS used or perhaps over-used, or maybe the DENOUEMENT (explanation of how and why such a thing happened) isn’t believable; or the COVER isn’t attracting people to the point where they want to open the cover and see what’s inside.

That is why I say writing is most definitely not a lonely profession:  of course, without the writer there wouldn’t be a book in the first place. But even if there was a book, it might not hang together properly; or perhaps it does hang together properly but the cover isn’t attractive enough to grab potential readers.

Writing, to me, is most definitely not a lonely profession. A writer is a member of a three-person team (basically), and each member of that team has to perform their task to the best of their abilities. if one fails, the book fails…just as the car would if you turned on the ignition and the motor wouldn’t start, or you looked inside and saw it was dirty, filthy, grimy; or you looked at it and saw the paint wasn’t applied properly or maybe it wasn’t as highly polished as it could have been.

I hope I haven’t rambled on and confused everybody. But if you can see the analogy between the car and the book, and the various team-members, then you’ve gained an idea of how the industry works.

And that is the key point: the industry. So if all I’ve said makes sense, then how can writing be a lonely profession when each team-member knows the next in line will check his/her work and either approve it or send it back for one reason or another?

Lesson over for the day, people. The writing game, to me, isn’t about making money. it’s about doing the thing I enjoy most, and doing it so well the reader will want to read what I’ve written. If one person picks up my book, then I know the cover designer has done a good job. If they open it and read a little, then I know the publisher has done a top job; If they buy the book, then I know I’ve done a good job, and the team has won another game.

I’m not lonely; I’m not wealthy (far from it); but I am blessed in that, in the later years of my life, I’ve become what I’ve always wanted to be: a WRITER. And that, along with having what I regard as the best team around to apply the finishing touches, is a damn sight more important than a million bux!           



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