Mark Terry

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

My Mind Is Misbehaving

March 13, 2007

In Stephen King's BAG OF BONES, which is probably my favorite King novel, bestselling author Mike Noonan says several times that a writer is someone who has trained his mind to misbehave.

As I mentioned briefly yesterday, I had sent off a manuscript for a kids novel to my agent, who loved it. I also found out that a previous proposal for a kids' series I wrote was still making at least some of the rounds. Irene loved the manuscript I sent her and I'm really hot on it as well. So while walking Frodo this morning I allowed myself one of those fantasies--you know the ones, the six-figure book deals, the movie deals, the condos in Maui, the...

Joe Konrath recently had a blog post where he was asking whether he should take a real vacation with his family. Apparently he got in an argument with his wife about it. She wanted to rent a cabin for a week and he argued that the reason he was working so hard promoting was so they would be able to afford one themselves.

Tobias Buckell recently posted a podcast (he wisely calls it a Buckellcast) on his blog, commenting that the average advance for a first SF novel was $5000, and by working hard, you might be able to bring that up to about $12,500. Then he flashes a book written by this lady and comments that he guesses all novelists are going for the brass ring.

I'm afraid it never ends. I noted with amusement of an interview I read recently with a book editor when both John Sandford and Lee Child were mentioned, he said, "Well, they're not on the same level, by the way." By same level he meant commercially and I had to wonder about that for a minute. Who was higher? My guess is Sandford, but I don't actually know.

And I interviewed bestselling author James Rollins and I commented that I thought he had handled the technical exposition of quantum mechanics in his last novel very well, comparing it to the 30 or 40 page expository first chapter in Michael Crichton's TIMELINE. Jim suggested that 1) his editor would never let him get away with that, and 2) if he sold as many copies as Crichton, maybe he could.

I'm of two minds about these sort of financial daydreams. One, I suspect they're not terribly healthy. And two, I think they're useful because they make us strive harder. It's not all about money certainly, but money can provide a certain kind of freedom, too. I'm afraid I would be a pretty boring rich person, though. No "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous" for me. I'm not big on fancy cars. I'd probably travel more. I would probably replace the carpeting in the house instead of having it steam cleaned (today). I'd definitely buy a boat. I'd sort of like a condo or vacation home up north and while I'm at it, wouldn't mind a home or condo someplace warm like Florida. But my brain just doesn't wander in the direction of private jets (John Grisham) or owning sports teams (Tom Clancy). No caviar dreams (gag me, the one time I had caviar I spit it out; I couldn't believe people put that in their mouth willingly) or champagne fantasies (gives me a headache).

So I might have to slip the leash back on my imagination for a while and just hope the book gets published so people can read it. Because that's the most important thing.


Mark Terry


Anonymous Eric Mayer said...

I'm with you on caviar. Put fish eggs in your mouth? Ugh.

Hmmm..would you do it for research? If your protag just had to eat caviar?

I wouldn't mind owning the New York Yankees. Could even J.K. Rowling afford a $200 million payroll?

If I made a fortune writing I'd probably stop writing.

7:45 AM  
Blogger spyscribbler said...

Oh, man, if I ever hit the payload, I'd have no problem being rich. ('Course, my fantasies tend towards winning the lottery rather than hitting the Rowling-size payload. Not sure which one would statistically be a better chance, LOL.) I'd buy a huge house with tons of land and furnish it with everything I want. :-) And then I know exactly which charities I'd get involved in. I'd just buy my way in, 'cause I'd want to get my hands dirty, too. (Not that I daydream about hitting the lottery that much ...)

I'd still write.

I'm toying with trying to tell myself I'm actually getting paid for this novel, and that it's due on April 30. LOL ... whatever gets me writing, I suppose.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

I honestly don't know what I would do if I suddenly made millions of dollars. We discussed this, my wife and I, recently when the Power Ball lottery was so high, whatever it was, $270 million. I didn't buy a ticket, but she's in a group at work that buy them. I commented that I'd probably just really promote my novels and leave it at that.

Or, I'd find a nice beach shack somewhere warm and learn to drink beverages with little umbrellas in them while I contemplated building sand castles.

Who knows?

10:46 AM  
Blogger Ron Estrada said...

As long as we're dreamin'. There's a lot of charities I'd get into. Of course, Oxford United Methodist Church would have a really mondo band. And a basketball court. I'd have one of those cabins I see while fly-fishing the Manistee River and have week long retreats for all my writer buddies. If you don't fly-fish (and why not?), you can write or something.

12:39 PM  
Blogger Mark Terry said...

Not much into fishing, but, I own a kayak and I'm always content on or near water.

12:57 PM  
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