Before I begin to describe my goals and explain some personal definitions, I want to assure you, gentle reader, that I in no way intend to disparage or deride any budding writer’s ambition, method or process. I too am a novice and as such am working toward developing my craftsmanship as best I can. I hope I am sensitive to that desire in each and every writer who might encounter me and to remember that they too are pursuing this ultimate of goals with as much heart and soul as I. We are brothers and sisters in the sense of developing our craft and I can only apologize in advance should I offend. Please believe me when I say such is accidental and unintended. Further, I reserve the right to change my views and goals as experience, time, research, reason and reality dictate. I anticipate making many discoveries and not a few mistakes while on this journey and hope you will indulge my growth and evolution.
First and foremost, I must articulate as a goal the simple and deep need to write. Though it may only in the most fundamental and oblique of ways fuel the publishing ambitions mentioned below, it ultimately acts independently of them and is the habit of a life-time I have no intention of giving up.
Second, it is my obvious ambition to publish. I believe I have things to say, stories worth telling and I want to communicate them to the public via poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction. I want to write at least one book but honestly hope to pen multiple and successful volumes as an established and recognized author.
Third, as outlined on the “About The Salamander’s Quill” page, it is the goal of this blog to chronicle my journey toward publication, to lay a foundation stone of my professional platform, to establish an online presence and to network with my writing peers. It is not however, to offer expertise as at present I have none.
It may be helpful in understanding the above goals and the nature of this blog if I define certain vocabulary. Please note the word “personal” in the heading. It is not my intention to depreciate anyone’s writing nor judge their personal literary nomenclature.
A “book” for some is just that: cover, pages, chapters, sections, a completed story. I also consider a book a finished literary work that, published or not, has undergone painful and honest editing, harrowing and extensive revision to reach a level of polished refinement suitable for public consumption—or at the very least public/professional criticism. I believe a finished book is the literal or digital representation of a writer’s ultimate and absolute best efforts. As such it is the honoring of a writer’s responsibility toward their craft and their readers and what gives a writer the right to consider themselves an “author.”
A “novel” is a finished book of fiction and as such, I avoid referring to my writing as, “…working on my novel.” I find such statements on my part to be somewhat misleading and presumptive.
A “writer” is someone who writes. That would be me.
An “author” is someone who writes and publishes competed books, poetry, articles or plays. That would not be me…not yet anyway.
A “manuscript” is my work-in-progress (WIP). It is not a book. It is not a novel. It is not finished. It is a manuscript. Personally, I do not like to call any draft I write, no matter how long, a “novel” or a “book.” At best I might refer to it as the “manuscript of my novel” or “book manuscript” but I try to avoid even this as a policy. As I suggested earlier, to do otherwise is to inaccurately suggest a finished product and a certain presumption I am uncomfortable with.
An “edit” is the microcosm of “revision’s” macrocosm and as such is the refinement of my manuscript’s grammar, punctuation, usage, clarity and communication. It is an improvement and careful check of the nuts, bolts, rivets and resources from which a manuscript is built.
A “revision” is the thoughtful change and hopeful improvement of a manuscript. It is a step up in a manuscript’s evolutionary development and as such makes it different from former versions. It might focus on the addition of more accurate and rich sensory detail, a new element, point of view or character, an additional or improved plot twist…or the deletion thereof, etc. Regardless, it is in theory a refinement of plot, a development of character or an improvement of manuscript euphony that allows the story to reign supreme. In my opinion, it will only be after such extensive scrutiny that my manuscript might begin to resemble a novel.
A “version” is a specific stage of revision that represents a major refinement in my manuscript.
A “review” here at The Salamander’s Quill is more of what I will refer to from now on as a “musing.” I really have no business evaluating a published author’s work as I am neither a literary critic nor a published author. All I know is what I like and that I have a lot to learn about this craft. Thus, I plan to read from now on with an eye toward what an author can teach me rather than whether or not they wrote a good book and relay that to my readers, which is more in keeping with what I feel the purpose of this blog is.