My wife marched for me: A privileged white guy’s story

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Two weeks ago my wife asked me if she could go to the Women’s March on Washington. Only, in asking, she wasn’t asking, because I don’t tell her what to do under typical circumstances, and I certainly wasn’t going to tell her not to join the biggest movement of our generation. But why would a well-educated white woman living in a nice neighborhood want to deal with the discomfort of inauguration and protest crowds on the one weekend people like her should avoid D.C.? Or as one guy (the type who wears a golf visor and hangs out in the country club bar drinking Fireball) said on social media, “You grew up in a rich family and went to private school. What do you have to complain about?” People think the rich shouldn’t care about anyone else.

When I was born 43 years ago, one thing was fairly certain: My life wasn’t going to be particularly difficult…

Click HERE or on the link below for the rest of the story.

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I’m having a vicious argument with my editor… and she doesn’t know it.

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Note: In the original version of this post, the word vicious in the headline was misspelled as viscous. Given the topic of this post, and the snark at which I approach mistakes the reveal lack of intelligence, I will now quit my writing career and light myself on fire. My only defense is that as an oil salesman, I used the word viscous quite frequently. 

If you want to know why my updates to this blog have been few and far between, read my latest from Creative Loafing for the tragically funny explanation.

Creative Loafing is where I cheat on this blog. 

Today I was deep into editing my next novel (something I’ve been doing… um… forever) and I got into an argument with my editor. Only, this argument occurred in the margins of Microsoft Word in the comments column. I had a witty retort for several of her observations. At one point, one of my characters gave a “sideways grin.” Her comment to this was, “What even is this?” Lest you think she typically speaks in such poor grammar, I assure you, she was just trying to show me how dumb the statement sounded. But I wasn’t going to take this lying down. My character was giving a sideways grin – and I was quite proud of the description.

With great determination, I confronted her via text. (After Googling “sideways grin” just to make sure it’s an actual phrase that people use and that I was, in fact, using it correctly.)

Me: You’ve never heard of a sideways grin?

Of course, for her there was no context to my question, because she’d made her comment three months ago while reviewing 200 pages of fiction. I waited eagerly for her response… hoping for embarrassed shame in not knowing this common, yet clever, use of phrase.

My editor: I believe that’s called a smirk.

Damn her. Because she’s usually right. But I hold the power in this situation and “sideways grin” stays, unequivocally. For this draft. (That is intentionally not the best use of ‘unequivocally’ – he wrote with a sideways grin.)

Editing is making me fragile. The other day I got an email from a reader – a fellow self-publisher – who found a word in my first book that has a homonym, which I had misused – three times. It was a true mistake – one I wasn’t even aware existed. I ran it by three smart people, and two of them were shaky on it, so I didn’t feel as bad. But it was a mistake, found by a reader, who took the time to tell me about it – in a nice, but stern way.

S0 now I’m looking for every revealing misstep. There are certain things in writing that reveal a person’s intelligence on a topic – or lack thereof. And I’m not talking about “there, their and they’re,” but more nuanced. Like a ship captain using the terms “right, left, front, back” instead of “starboard, port, bow and stern.” But often far more subtle. I was reading a book recently where the author’s character was cracking jokes / quasi insults, that simply weren’t funny. Not only, not funny, but revealingly stupid. Like when Trump thinks he has a comeback for … well everyone. I had to put the book down.

I write fast. And for that reason, I edit slow. Except blogs. I’ll re-read this once and hit “publish.”

Jonathan Kile’s first novel The Grandfather Clock is one of the top FREE suspense novels on Amazon. His email is jkilewrites@gmail.com. He can’t remember his blood type.

 

The Grandfather Clock eBook is FREE and an Update on The Napoleon Bloom

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Great news, The Napoleon Bloom is blossoming. The bad news, the book I hoped to have out last spring, will be out before this spring. It’s been an interesting year – a story unrelated to writing/publishing that I may get into a little bit on this blog. I’m very excited because the editing process is really making this novel come together. I honestly like this better than my first book, and I’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reception The Grandfather Clock has received.

Speaking of The Grandfather Clock, it is now FREE on Amazon. Not only is it free, it is the #1 FREE Kindle book in the Adventure Suspense and Adventure Romance categories. I’ve been getting a lot of promotion from discount book sites and did over 5,000 downloads in 3 days. And I’m pleased to say that I’ve been getting a lot of 4 and 5-star reviews, so don’t take my word for it. (Thanks to everyone who takes the time to write a thoughtful review.)

I’ve had the opportunity to speak to some local book clubs and I’m working on some other writing projects while I finish The Napoleon Bloom. More on those projects in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out my latest post for Creative Loafing.

Cheers!

-JK

 

 

Book 2 Coming Soon: The Napoleon Bloom

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It doesn’t look like it here, but I’ve been doing a great job maintaining my blog. The problem is that it’s over on the Creative Loafing Tampa website and I don’t always (almost never) update this blog. That is changing.

The release of the sequel to The Grandfather Clock is around the corner. I’m very excited to finally get The Napoleon Bloom in the hands of readers. It’s had its share of delays – all of which were unrelated to the book – and totally related to the rude intrusion of real life. Still, this book is coming at the speed of light, compared to a lot of books. I mean, Harper Lee took like 60 years to get her followup done.

So here’s what happening. First, The Grandfather Clock is soon going to be FREE to download for your Kindle as part of the promotion for the new book. If you really don’t want to shell out the 99 cents, but want to read it now, go over to Smashwords, where they have it for free. I just added it there, so no promises that the formatting is perfect – in fact, they are bugging me to make some modifications. It makes a good .epub file but it won’t convert to those juggernauts like the soon to be extinct Nook and a few other formats no one has ever heard of. Then why is it there? If I told you I’d have to kill you.

I’m also excited that I’ll be presenting for an exclusive local book club. One that actually reads more pages than glasses of wine they drink. It’s a club of smart readers – several of whom I know personally – and I don’t expect them to pose easy questions. I’ll also be previewing the new book for them, so that’ll be fun. I’ll be sure to share the laughter and tears of that October evening.

Keep checking this space for updates on the release and new Creative Loafing columns – I do those roughly every two weeks, and if I don’t update it here, it doesn’t mean I haven’t posted wise words there.

Questions? Shoot me an email at jkilewrites@gmail.com.

 

Another green bench selfie

Believe it or not, there are days that I’m not sitting near this sign.

 

Good Editing Saves Lives (of characters we may want to kill)

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In this week’s blog post for Creative Loafing, I lament that fact that without even reading a word of the manuscript, my editor blasted a hole in a fairly major turn of events in the sequel. And by “fairly major” I mean, very major. Rather than rehash it, go read about it HERE. Hear why I think hiring a good content editor can save you major embarrassment and why it’s sometimes the small stuff that makes a difference.

See, the editing of a book is where you make those changes that a change a manuscript into a novel. As writers we sometimes get caught up in telling the story, which might include which series of freeways you take to get from Laguna Beach to LAX. But unless those details matter, cut them. I was reading a book recently that mentioned the model of laptop the character was using. First, unless your goal is to immediately date your fiction, don’t go there. That fancy Blackberry Storm is a useless plastic brick in a couple of years. Those details only matter if they actually matter… like a villain who drives a car with an 8 Track Deck or  watches Disney movies on Betamax all day (look it up, kids, Betamax is the future.)

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Photo Credit: Tom Simpson via Compfight cc

It would be nice if the editing of my manuscript only involved these minor details, but I have a feeling that my editor will be questioning the motivation and authenticity of the multiple villains in my next offering. In fact, I’m counting on her to do that. I don’t know any Asian, Russian, Cuban or French gangsters personally, so they’re going to get some color during the editing process.

As I write this, I’m beginning to understand why I can’t stand most movies. I tend to nitpick minor choices and wonder how films with hundreds of intelligent people involved can get produced with so many bad choices. For instance, there’s a pretty significant difference in the end of The Martian the novel, vs. The Martian the movie. They didn’t change the outcome, but they changed how it went down, and for a story that is supposed to HINGE on the use of science and technology, they threw physics out the door in favor of action at the most critical point in the movie. And don’t get me started on Robert DeNiro’s recent paycheck The Intern – you thought it was name for DeNiro’s character, but actually it was written and edited by an intern. This is why I can only watch romantic comedies. (Who am I kidding? I have two small kids. If it isn’t Pixar, I haven’t seen it.)

My editor would probably like to get her hands on this blog post and delete it. Tomorrow I meet with my most snarky, mean, evil, did I say mean? beta reader. I will report back after her no-holds-barred assessment. Until then, time to pick up The Grandfather Clock for 99 cents and read it before The Napoleon Bloom comes out this summer. You will enjoy The Grandfather Clock and I believe the sequel is better. Get on it!

-JK

By day Jonathan Kile is a peddler of petroleum products, navigating a Glengarry Glen Ross landscape of cutthroat sales. By night he assumes the identity of novelist and child-wrangler. Jonathan’s first published novel The Grandfather Clock is available on Amazon. He’s writing his second and third novels, blogging at Well-Oiled Writer and for Creative Loafing and cursing his editor. You can email him at jkilewrites@gmail.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Editing your novel: A baseball metaphor

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Editing a novel is like baseball. It’s a long season. It’s never perfect. And theoretically, like an extra inning game where no one ever scores, it could go on forever. I’m in deep right now, but I’m not even to the All-Star Break. I know the first 1/3 of my book needs the most work (based on the opinion of me and one other person.) That illusion may be shattered as I get more feedback from other beta-readers (one of whom keeps taking island vacations.)

I’m on my second sweep of my book. Let’s call the first sweep Spring Training (if you’re okay with me beating this metaphor into the ground.) After round two I’ll be bringing in my hired help: a woman who will make me question my ability for form complete sentences, much less put together 80,000 words. I’ll fold into the fetal position like Bill Buckner after Game 6 and just cry.

Buckner

Give the guy a break. He was playing on two sprained ankles.

Wait. There’s no crying in baseball!

My editor will coax me into an upright position with a refreshing local IPA and we’ll begin to analyze my book with a depth usually reserved for Steinbeck or Faulkner. I guess that makes her my “closer.” My Goose Gossage. My baseball references are showing my age. Fortunately, my conversation about editing in this week’s Creative Loafing is void of bad baseball references. Check it out HERE.

That book isn’t going to edit itself!

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My name is Jonathan Kile and I have a book to edit. For a while I was content to let it sit in the hands of my beta-readers and pretend that there was nothing to do until I started to get their notes. Ahhh, Procrastination. The Greek God of – Oh Look, Something Else To Do! Procrastination is actually one of the more powerful gods and has probably saved us from many bad books. But in it’s fiery swath, it has likely taken a few masterpieces down too.

So yeah, I’ve been procrastinating, and I have a damned good excuse which I wrote about in Creative Loafing this week. But if The Napoleon Bloom with it’s “flowery” title is going to make it out this spring (technically by June 20) I must get back to work.

“Excuse me, Mr. Kile, isn’t writing a blog just another form of procrastination.” (Yes, a blog written by a novelist is by definition their public form of time wasting.)

So, RIGHT NOW, I’m going to spice up my first five chapters because my first beta-reader said they were a “little slow” (and by “a little slow,” she meant she “might not have finished it it she hadn’t promised” – ouch!). When I don’t finish a book, I use a more literary phrase, “It sucked.” I can’t ask my volunteers to use such technical terms all of the time.

So, what I thought was deep character building – nay a character’s dark introspective journey –  was zzzzzzz sleepy. Another beta-reader said it wasn’t slow, but then she said she was on Chapter 2. I’m just going to drop a clown and car chase in there and be done.

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I believe it was Stephen King who said, “If your story isn’t taking off, toss in a clown.” Photo Credit: Speeder1 via Compfight cc

Don’t forget, I’m writing more frequently at Creative Loafing. With the sequel coming out in a couple of months, now is a great time to read The Grandfather ClockIt costs a measly 99 cents. You’ll be mad when I go “bestseller” raise my price to $12.99 for the eBook and forget who my friends were.

Thanks for cruising by.

Jonathan Kile / jkilewrites@gmail.com