Monday, January 3, 2011

Finished a first draft of novel in progress

I have had an interesting start to the new year in that I finished a first draft of that novel that I have worked on off and on for about 3 years now. In fact I first wrote about my starting it on Jonathan's journal in my stories webpage where I briefly blogged just before starting autism's gadfly.

I realize that though a milestone of sorts, a first draft of a novel (at least in my case) does not mean a whole lot in terms of marketability, or publishability. The nice thing about this blog is that I can write posts on the fly without being accountable to an editor for what they are worth (or not worth depending on your viewpoint) and then have some interested people read them. One is not afforded the same luxury with a novel or non-fiction book, or an article you want published someplace and you are accountable to some other entity. Usually, unless the writer is extremely skilled (far more skilled than I am) they have to do extensive editing and re-writing to obtain a finished product ready for submission. I am not sure I am capable of doing that with a book, though technically I have written three books now (four if you count a book length collection of short stories as a book).

Though I realize I have sometimes been lax in my re-writing of posts on this blog, I am gratified that I have now been writing semi-regular posts on autism's gadfly for just about three years and I have developed a following, albeit a small one, of devoted readers. Not only that this blog seems to generate a large amount of comments for a small tiny spec in the blogosphere.

I wrote briefly about my novel in progress last year in another gadfly post.

It would seem now, the real work of rewriting will begin. I think it is too late to enroll in a ucla extension course, for next week, so i may have to wait until April. I don't have as much money as I did at one time to hire a book doctor and for The School of Hard Knocks I was not too inclined to listen to them anyhow and they did not give me a good direction. I suppose that unfortunately I am one of those writers who wants the book doctor to tell me that I am another Dostoyevsky and my novel needs no work, so not sure what the next step will be.

I still dream of using my autism as a gimmick for commercial success. For those who are interested, I wrote about that idea in the post that I linked to last year and they can read it. I learned some hard lessons from that. Of course now, high functioning autistics with intact intelligence are no longer considered such an anomaly. This might reduce the value of using disability as a gimmick in marketability of a book. In fact, we have John Elder Robison representing all autistics on the AS science board. Stephen Shore and Ari Ne'eman are supposed to represent our interests on the IACC. These three individuals have a functioning level that far surpasses mine.

Of course one of the lessons learned was that a seemingly sure fire gimmick for publication is no substitute for the arduous effort it will take to write a product ready for publication.


Oliver M Canby said...

Congratulations, Jonathan! Maybe you will get this one published.

jonathan said...

Thanks, Oliver, that would be nice.

SM69 said...

Hi Jonathan- this is great- I am not sure if this would be of any help, but Jessica Kingsley Publishers is constantly seeking novel publications of any types in autism. They have contacted me once asking me if I was interested for a book or had ideas of new things to publish. I understand for several frinds who have published there that there is little money to make, but the way I see this issue, is to get stuff published first and then move on to more if wanted and possible. Your salary would be the joy to have something published.

I would think your writing would be interesting for many to read for a number of reasons.

Try contacting them and see, they have US offices too.

jonathan said...

Lorene: I met Jessica Kingsley at an ASA conference one year and she has told me that as a general rule they don't publish fiction because in the few instances they published fiction it did not sell well. So JK is not really an option for a novel.

However, if I ever have a nonfiction book that I am ready to submit for publication, I will seriously considering submitting that to them.

SM69 said...

Oh that's a shame- but, I would think it's a point worth discussing none the less because:

1- in my opinion, most fiction is about people's life, real life, I can think of tons of examples of novels and writers who have written fiction yet, they talk about their own life experiences, their visions of the world.

2- Personally, I prefer to be as close as possible from how people think through their own words rather than through explanations from a third person. Explanations are like cluttering, and are subjective. I am not saying there is no room for textbooks and academic writing in autism, both have their value for different reasons.

3- Ethics- One may say from reading LBRB, that I do not have any ethics, but it's only because of how some people have chosen to represent the work I do, not actually based on knowing what I actually do. My point with respect to JKP is that, those who work in autism from a commercial perspective, especially if it is a for profit enterprise, should set up a fund to assist autism, one way or another. It's not just about making money. In this respect JKP should really take the responsibility to publish fictional writing from ASD people / poetry etc, even if there is no likely money to make from this. It seems like a very obvious thing to do, and also to advocate for (O ASAN, where art thou?). Again, isn’t it part of this inclusion idea, creating jobs and opportunities for people with autism? This must come with package assistance of some sort, being either partly governmental and/or partly from businesses which actually work in that field. I am certain there are ethical and viable ways to do this.

Any way good luck, I’d be happy to argue these points with the editor as a matter of principles if this would help you.