Friday, February 07, 2020

Writing: Like A Sparkler

Remember when you were a kid and fireworks were going off all around you. You wanted to participate, but were told that shooting off bottle rockets and lighting firecrackers were too dangerous. Some adults, and even teen-agers, held Roman candles, and that sounded like fun, but you weren't allowed. Too dangerous. But, before the firework "show" wound down, you were allowed to hold a sparkler--maybe two. You were big stuff. You were shooting off fireworks--sort of. It was fun while it lasted, but after it had run its course, there wasn't anything left but a wire with a bit of burned material on it.

I won't say that writing a novel is totally like shooting off fireworks, but one similarity struck me. You labor for months--sometimes a year or more--getting the content just right. Launch day is sort of like a fireworks display (although the rockets and firecrackers get muted later on in some cases), but when it's all over you can find yourself holding a burned out sparkler and thinking "is that all?"

An author has to start hyping his/her book weeks before it is released--sometimes months. It's necessary to keep reviews coming in. And there's the time-tested giveaway (which sort of fizzles if participation is weak). But eventually, the fireworks are over if you let them. If you've been writing that next book, the quiet period doesn't last too long. If you put it off, though, you may find yourself holding a burned-out sparkler, looking around and wondering where those fireworks you see are coming from. They're coming from someone else who's launching the book they've been working on. And so on, and so on, and so on.


Priscilla Bettis said...

I wish you lots of spectacular fireworks shows!

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks. Got one more coming up in a little over a month. And I have the beginnings of the next one on my computer. Got to keep to fireworks going.