January 23rd, 2008

It takes a village...

to write a book. Sometimes.

I know there are writers -- good writers -- who don't use a village. They write their book, they maybe let one other person (like their agent) read it, and then they send it off to their editor.

I'm not one of those. I'm not even sure I could be. From my vast experience (of three whole years at this), I don't think most writers are like that. Most of us need the village. We write, we send it through a critique group, sometimes even using ms-exhange partners once we're just about there. Then we take the collective ideas and rework anything that fits with our vision for the story.

Obviously, when I do this, I'm still the author of the book. It's my decision which ideas to accept and which to toss -- and even those that I accept I adjust to fit with the tone and voice of the story. But in my mind, I couldn't have written the book that I did without that village.

I love when I read the Acknowledgment section (which I always do, of course) in books and there's a long list of names the author thanks. That's the way it should be, I think. Because none of us writes in a vacuum (well, most of us don't). I guarantee that when that day comes for me, when my first book (and subsequent books) is published, I'll have a nice long list. Many of you will find your names there. You are my village -- and I thank you!

How about you? Do you have a village, or do you prefer (and even need) a more solitary writing experience? What do you suppose contributes to that in each of us?
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