Toade's Terrific Talking Time - T4 EP.1
Writer extraordinaire Toade here!
I’m currently being held against my will at an undisclosed [BeetleMilk] facility and my masters (Fishe and Sharke) have decided that it’s time for me to earn my keep by doing something other than writing novels. Because, I don’t know if you’re all aware, writing novels takes an insane amount of time and effort. And while I have a ton of time, the whole effort thing is still up for debate. So, we decided that I should become a sort of voice for our company. Toade’s Terrific Talking Time (Or T4, if Sharke and Fishe are into it) will be my way of giving you all some weekly insight into how we’re doing, what we’re up to, and how I feel about this relatively new gig on a regular basis. You can also expect some jokes, some charm, and a whole lot of wit.
So, what are we going to be talking about in the very first installment of T4? How about how much I absolutely despise editing longform work! I know, I know, it’s not the cheeriest topic, but I can still make it funny and entertaining. That’s how skilled and talented I am as a wordsmith.
As some of you may know, there are a few things in the pipeline for 2019 that are written by yours truly. The first of these is a re-release of a book that the author (That’s me) describes as ‘aggressively decent.’ That book is called The Challenger Deep, and it’s about how absolutely terrified I am of the ocean and all things that may or may not dwell within. Now, I wrote this novel way before Sharke and Fishe even thought about bringing me on to the company, and Sharke himself thoroughly enjoyed the book. But since I am now signed to a snazzy company like [BeetleMilk], I thought it’d be best to pull the book from shelves and revisit it for the new release. Think of it as a Director’s Cut version.
I thought it’d be a great idea to add some more pages, expand on some side plots, flesh out character motivations and interactions. And while I had an absolute blast doing that (I added a whopping 60 pages to the book overall!) then came the hard part.
Here’s what’s great about being a self-published author. You’ve got no one to answer to and the book is done when you say it’s done. You can throw it up and never give it a second thought. But Sharke, being the doting and wonderful man that he is, REFUSES TO LET ME DO THAT. He’s got this idea that I should ‘edit’ my work and ‘make it as good as it can possibly be’ because he ‘wants to see me succeed’ or something like that, I don’t know, I kinda wasn’t listening.
Fine, whatever, I’ll edit the book, I’m sure it won’t be too bad. I know it was written a few years back when I wasn’t as capable as I currently am, but I’m sure it won’t be such a slog. At least, that’s what I told myself.
Have any of you ever, I don’t know, drawn something or written something or created something in some way, left it alone, then revisited it a few years later to see how well it’s aged? If you haven’t, then congratulations, you haven’t felt the pain that I’m currently experiencing.
The Challenger Deep was well received when I released it. Not to brag, but it held a 4.1/5 based on Amazon reviews for the entirety of the time it was available. And now, sitting here and staring at the document that I am FINALLY almost done wading through, I am wondering how much money I would’ve made if Sharke had pushed me to thoroughly edit back when I finished it for the first time. I have encountered so much in the document that I could improve upon or revise completely that I’ve been left in awe of my growth as a writer.
That’s “write” everybody! I’ve decided that this post is turning away from the self-loathing and turning towards being self-admiring. It’s called self-care, people. Love yourself. What I forgot to take into account when I decided to go through this process is how much a person can grow in such a short time. I was a competent enough writer in 2015 (when the book was being written), but I’ve had many more lessons to learn from and stories to work through since then, that I’ve found what I believe to be my true voice as a writer.
But none of that can take away just how FRUSTRATING EDITING A WHOLE NOVEL FROM THE GROUND UP IS. I’m only slightly exaggerating when I say that it’s all of the work of writing a new one without all of the fun and discovery that goes along with it. I love writing, it’s my truest passion in life. I adore following characters from their inception to the completion (or failure) of the mission I set them on during the course of the story’s events. When I’m writing new material, I am reading a brand-new book that no one else can even touch yet. It’s exhilarating and cathartic. There are no other words to describe the sensation.
And editing the book once it’s done is like tearing apart a corpse to find the thing that killed it (or will eventually kill it) in a preventative measure that’s equal parts miserable and necessary. I know that the general population won’t feel the same way I feel when they read it for the first time if it isn’t the best possible version of itself. Whether I like it or not, f
irst drafts are not complete. These drafts are my babies, and my babies are ugly. I still love them! But they ugly, guys. And they smell like placenta.
With all of that being said, I am nearing completion on that, which means that you lovely people will soon be able to hold the book in your hands, scan the pages and wonder to yourself…
“Who’s Brian Melgar?”
Check back next week for the next T4!
Brian Melgar, better known as Toade, writes for [BeetleMilk] and for Liberty. Like, the actual idea of Liberty, and Justice for Maltipoo's. He lives with his puppy Sasha and the shame of having not edited "The Challenger Deep" in anything resembling a respectable timeframe. You can harass him sexually at @realbrianmelgar on Twitter, or @darthsnugglepuss on IG.