It has come the time when I can finally write this blog post: The Affair is out there, you can buy it at your favoirte ebook online shop – or at least on Amazon, All Romance ebooks, Smashwords and Kobo. I’m excited, of course. It seems a long time since I started writing it.
I first mentioned it here last September, and even then I’d been working on it for some time. It was the kind of story that took a back seat to other stories that I pushed, but I still knew I wanted to finish it, because the premise of an affair has always fascinated me. I’m not sure why but the predicament of falling in love with someone outside the marriage bond and pursuing that attraction or giving into the sheer force of it… the guilt, the question of whether to end a marriage over it or not… Yes, it is fascinating.
And this is what I wanted to accomplish with The Affair, to dive into that kind of drama. I think I made a decent job of it, but then writers are never the most reliable critics of their own works.
And we’re also not the best editors for them either. And this is where the really hard work begins. With the right story, writing can be like playing, you make believe, you do what you love (the degree on play and love can vary significantly from story to story, and at the end of the day it’s still hard work), but editing… it’s a process that can eat at you.
I personally like it as a learning process, where someone who knows more about syntax and grammar and commas teaches me how to do it better. I’d like to think that I grow more during the editing part of the writing than the writing itself. For example, with The Affair I learned that what I consider new and exciting ways to formulate sentences, are not really that exciting for my readers. They rather hinder the reading. This is something that blows my mind, even though from reading novels I should have already known that. How often have I frowned upon a phrase or a sentence that the writer probably thought was brilliant – and here I am doing the same thing.
It’s a hard lesson to learn and I’m sure I’ll be ignoring it the next time I sit down to write some fiction. It’s also hard to see an editor delete those perfectly wonderful phrases which you think make your writing voice unique and fresh. But most of the time, unfortunately, the editor is right. I can accept that, most of the time, but as I said: hard lesson.
I remember years ago at a fan convention (nothing like comic con, just a small gathering of Xenites at a hostel somewhere in the German hicks), where there were fanfiction readings in the evening. It was the first time I heard someone read anything of mine and it was the most horrific experience in my young writer’s life. I didn’t know until then that every reading is also an interpretation of the text. And, of course, in my opinion, this interpretation was horrible. The reader made all the wrong choices when it came to pauses, the little jokes I build into the story mostly went over the listening crowds’ heads, it was all wrong. But that was mainly my ego. It was apparent that she had read the story many times before to do it justice on that night, she was a little nervous, understandibly, to be reading in public, and she did a decent job of it. Her reading voice just didn’t collaborate with the narrator’s voice in my head.
So, this was a little like an editing experience. And, nowadays, I appreciate the effort behind it more – I hope. Everybody at Ylva Publishing did a fantastic job on making The Affair better than it was to begin with. It’s also longer now and I’m really proud of the end product. I want to thank Astrid Ohletz and Jae, especially, and my editor on this, Alissa McGowan. The cover design by Kaitlyn Connolly is a thing of beauty. There were more people involved and I want to thank everybody. Writing is at times a lonely occupation, but putting out a novel is not.
That said, I hope you’ll all read this novella and tell me how you liked it, the second part being optional, of course. 🙂