Sunday, January 9, 2011

Beating a dead horse...or keeping it alive until it thrives...

Just came across this cool advertisement from Quill on the internet announcing the arrival of Lovers and Strangers Revisited back in 2008.  I was scratching my head, where did this come from?  Then I dug through some old copies of Quill and found it on the back page of their July-September issue!

This was the third time for publishing this book, and I remember, at the time, another publisher making a remark about another writer who was also republishing her book, "Is she still beating that dead horse?" Then I thought, well her book came out at around the same time as my book back in 1993, so this could very well apply to me.  Am I beating a dead horse?  But then it went on to win the 2009 The Star Popular Reader's Choice Award, and now it's looking like it'll soon be translated into French, so you just never know, do you?

So am I beating a dead horse...or keeping it alive until it thrives...

This is also why I kept revising my short stories, over and over, and why so many from this collection have been published, some twenty years after they were written!  And why I keep revising my novels, The Boy Who Shot Santa, 16 times, The Lonely Affair of Jonathan Brady, 22, and Tropical Affairs, 14, because you just never close you are to succeeding, to finally getting the novel just right.

I do this every year when a new round of novel contests come up and I think, well it's been a year (or sometimes several years have passed by).  Let's take a look, and right away I find better ways of saying something, or how if I did a little rearranging, a little tweaking here and there, and what if I did this or that, or added something to chapter....Then once again I plunge myself back into a novel for yet another rewrite, which I just did in December, as an investment and a vote of confidence for January and 2011.  I'm so glad I did.  I wasn't planning on it either other than a cursory glance, but instead, I spend a month overhauling it.

Writing is basically rewriting, and every time I rewrite something, I'm thinking, hey, it's coming alive.  I thought it was finally dead this time, but it's really coming alive, and that gives me hope for the New Year.  And hope is a good thing for a writer.  Hope is a good thing for everyone.  Imagine a life where you have no hope...
                                         -Robert Raymer, Borneo Expat Writer

*Just to update, Lovers and Strangers Revisited has been translated into French and will be out in September 2011.  And now "Home for Hari Raya" is getting filmed by Ohio University!

***Here the link to my website, to MPH online for orders for all three of my books, including my latest, Spirit of Malaysia and for Trois autres Malaisie.

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