Looking at novels from both sides

I still haven't gotten used to the idea that I actually wrote "Here Be Monsters", nor that people have read and enjoyed it.  It still freaks me out a bit when I get emails about the book, or read reviews on Amazon or GoodReads, or get stopped by someone who has read the book and wants to talk about Tyler or camping or bad eating habits or murder (as it relates to the book). 

It's gratifying to share the enjoyment for the story and character and place with people, but I've noticed something else...something that maybe only other writer's would know about...the disparity between reader and writer immersion in the novel.

People who read my book spend a couple of days (or hours...or weeks) reading, and enjoying, "Here Be Monsters"; I spent 6-8 months planning and writing and editing the same collection of words.  One draft of the novel was 68k words, another was nearly 80k, and the final was almost 75k; each of those versions was quite different. 

I tried to write fast, and fix it slow, and to maintain a stable of characters and action sequences within the general framework of a storyline arc...readers want a fun story that transports them to another world for the time that they're reading. 

Both of these experiences are valid and interesting aspects of the same book, but are totally different.

I love reading the work of my favorite authors, Lawrence Block and John Sandford; I have re-read some of their best stuff to relive the experience, and look forward to their new books eagerly.  I read their books in a few days, and now am aware that the book/adventure that I enjoyed swimming around in for around a week took them months to put together.

Maybe it's something that everyone else was already aware of. but it's new to me, and has changed the way that I think about the books that I read.

Just a morning book thought on a chilly Thursday in the Adirondacks (-30F this morning in Tyler Cunningham Country).



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