When I was starting out to write, my first book, Tazeric, I felt like I could walk on water, shoot fireballs out of my nose and be an all-around badass. I did not have a clue that this was going to be such a looooooooooooong process. I wrote the book, sent it off to my then editor, and published it without re-reading the book.
Well, shit, that was a mistake.
There is a manga and anime called Fooly Cooly or FLCL that I watched in the late 90s. The manga is just an omnibus or 3 chapters long. The anime is 6 episodes long. When I first watched the anime, I was floored by the incredible feeling of, “What the fuck did I just watch?”
I found the manga and read it. The same “WTF” feeling that I had for the anime welled up about the manga. Because the only real outlet we had at the time was a late-night show called, Adult Swim, which only had a dozen or so shows and FLCL was one of them, I watched it repeatedly. Let me say this, part of my reason for not understanding this show was being stoned at the time the show aired.
When I got a call from my brother telling me that my book was unreadable, it was a 2×4 to the face. After I got up off the metaphorical floor, I asked him, “why?” He told that the manuscript was riddled with so many spelling, verb, and punctuation errors, that he could not read it. By this time my book was out for a few months I had sold some books and felt good about myself. I felt stupid, a failure, and extremely embarrassed. I sunk into myself and turned to anime to soothe my lost soul. I got a subscription to HULU and Netflix and binged watched anime for a few months until I got back up off the same old metaphorical floor.
Part of this process was watching old favorites like Cowboy Bebop, Ghost in the Shell, and FLCL. Not only did I watch these amazing amines, but started to read about their writers, directors, and creators. That’s when I came across the interview with Kazuya Tsurumaki, and he talked in length about FLCL.
I mean, the dude directed Neon Genesis Evangelion for fuck’s sake! Neon Genesis Evangelion is atitan in the anime world. You are a cast out, a pariah, a noob if you have not watched this anime. This anime is a masterpiece of directing, writing, and art.
And this guy directed FLCL! Holy crap!
Let us take a deep breath and step back for a moment.
I started to re-read my book and the more I read it the more I felt like I let down myself and I felt fucking stupid! How could I let myself get so caught up in thinking that I just had to send it off to the editor and bang, the book is done, millions of fans and dollars later, I’m on the Tonight Show, and my life to off to the races? Right, that’s how it’s supposed to go.
I went back and watched FLCL again. I paid close attention to the pacing, the outtakes, the artwork, the everything, and it excited me. How did I miss this the first time or the thirtieth time around? Then I started to feel like, “I can feel stupid and that’s okay if I don’t get something, a joke, a weird side story that lasts 30 seconds, or when the characters break the 4th wall, again.”
My book needed a complete rewrite and now it was my job to find a new editor. I found one, Jamie, and she was riding a white horse, in a suit of armor and came to save me. Well, she emailed me, and we started to talk, and she was my editor after that. (She does slay dragons on the weekends, don’t let her tell you otherwise.)
Much as my book started to change in my eyes, FLCL started to change in my mind. Jamie and I worked hard for almost a year to get the book right. It took me almost that long to figure out that FLCL was a brilliant anime. Where Neon Genesis Evangelion is smart, incredibly written, and directed, FLCL is goofy, fun, and nerdy.
My first attempt at writing was good, but it was not where I wanted it to be. I’m going through Tazeric again, as well as my second book, Triumvirate, but after writing that book for over a year and having other projects in the works, I feel that I’m a better writer and I can make Tazeric that much better too, with a little help from a dragon slayer.
“It’s okay to feel stupid.”
I agree, you learn from it.
I also know that I do not write my blog as much as I should, and for that, I apologize. I also write choppy, and very free-flowing, and for that, I will not apologize.
Love you all and miss many of you. I will write more; it’s just been a long few months.