The other side of ‘The Sheriff ‘ . . .
Writing The Sheriff, as I’ve said on the introduction to its page, is enormous fun. I mentioned the joy I have at being able to work on something that is just a first draft, where I am not as bound by the rules as when I get down to second, third, fourth and a million other edits.
This story comes completely from the heart at this stage. That’s not to say that my more ‘official’ work isn’t loved. But this piece isn’t bound by writerly convention. I’ve barely researched anything either as you can probably tell without looking very hard. Better writers than I are probably shaking their heads in horror by now. So I probably need to defend the story a little.
It began as a mere blog-piece, something I thought up in a silly moment. As it developed, I was encouraged by fans of Guy of Gisborne
(from BBC TV series Robin Hood ) to upload it as a free e-book to Wattpad which I did for a little while. But as I also placed it on my blog, I felt I was using valuable time that could be spent on my real WIP’s.
Then something happened. The story began to inveigle itself into a deeper creative consciousness and I began to see that with significant historical research the plot could have even better legs, that it might grow into a real manuscript . . .
I now have a relationship with Ysabel of Moncrieff and Guy of Gisborne and with each upload to Mesmered, the decision to keep writing and stop uploading draws ever closer. I’m just wondering at what point I stop uploading . . . how far do I dare take the readers before ceasing? Or do I throw caution to the wind and keep uploading to the end? Do I not bother at all with editing and polishing, with researching and ironing out the inconsistencies? Leave it as a spontaneous piece of writing.
That thought alone is so tempting. The readers of the story on both Mesmered and Wattpad have been either intentionally or unintentionally forgiving. Each time I upload, I can find holes big enough for a trebuchet to shoot through and yet the fans read and comment and stick loyally by Guy and Ysabel.
That very fact on its own brings me to a really interesting point.
As I work on edits of my (hopefully) mainstream work, I am forced to be meticulous, to scour the text with a microscope and excise the smallest problem. Ideally the end result will be something a publisher or agent will feel needs little work.
And yet . . .
And yet . . . there is a whole bevy of stories on Wattpad of varying quality and style that readers devour with little interest in the dotted ‘i’s’ and crossed ‘t’s’. For most it is free literature that enables them to read from their phones whenever they have a moment.
In that instance, I then ask myself what is most important . . . to be read by many in an open forum that is less bound by rule and regulation, or to be honed to the best possible level of story-writing and be published mainstream? I tried to explain it to one of The Sheriff’s fans today on Twitter and thought I gave a very unsatisfactory answer.
I wonder if anyone reading this has any ideas of what they think I should do?