Friday, November 21, 2014

What's Happening

(Here's the tl;dr: the novel isn't a novel, 
it's essentially an outline for three novels. 
After three years of working on it I 
could give up but I'm not going to.)
Just in case anyone is still stopping by on occasion, here's an update.

I lost most of September and nearly all of October to stress and doubt about my writing among other things. But some really great things have happened during that time and I'm back on track.

The big thing is that the novel that I wrote starting back in 2011 during NaNoWriMo (with lots and lots and lots of revisions) is still here without representation or any publishing offers. I got a couple of requests for partials and one request for a full manuscript but ultimately everyone has passed on it.

I shared the book with my very good friend and sometime editor Sara who came back with nearly novel-length notes (not really there were a lot) even though she said she'd read for pleasure and I just asked for an opinion. You know, did you like it?

Well, she did like it which is consistent with the feedback I've gotten from other readers. But in her notes Sara told me that what I had wasn't really a novel. It's actually a detailed outline for three novels. I hadn't put enough detail in and glossed over some potentially interesting character development things. I hadn't built a world effectively enough. I assumed the reader knew things that I hadn't explicitly put into the manuscript.

So while agents and editors considered the book, they didn't get the whole story. Despite the fact that there were over 100,000 words there, it wasn't a novel. It was an outline.

My god, I thought, she's right. Absolutely right.

The hard lesson here is to not give up. It would be so easy to toss the whole damn thing out and start over on something new taking all the critique into consideration. After all I have tons of ideas.

But dammit, I believe in this story. I love these characters. I think this is a good book. Well, three good books now, right?

Add in that I visited a new writer's group in the beginning of September courtesy of my friend Holly where I got detailed and terribly useful critiques of a short story. That group gave me insights into my work similar to the things Sara had later on. It would be easy to give up on that story too. But rather than do that, I've realized I'm on the right track.

I'm trying to apply all this to all the things I've got in some state of 'done' and it's a bit overwhelming. Plus I've started a new job in the last month with increased responsibilities and new systems to learn...

Which I could use as further excuse to give up. I could use all of the criticisms to just let go, start over or quit completely.

That's what I'm saying here: don't give up. Even when you think you're done with something and it's not connecting with your audience, don't give up. If it's good you'll get there. I know I will. Even after three full years of working on this novel I'm not giving up. I'm trying to balance working on other things too but I'm not quitting this one.

I owe some folks a couple of things and I have to focus on those while I'm spending time rewriting. Look, if you believe in your work, don't quit. Make it better. Find a way.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Beamed Upon

So most of September and all of October have been lost. I've done so little writing it's embarrassing.

Which is why I'm calling myself out on it here. There have been distractions (baseball, work, more...) and I let them get the better of me. There was a lot of stress both professional and personal. It seems those bits are mostly gone. And there's doubt about my own abilities. That's constant.

But I was told something last night that encourages me. Now that the distractions and stress are less and less I'm diving back in. There are revisions to be done on a short story, a novella and the novel I've been shopping around. That's how I'm spending my November instead of NaNoWrimo, in revisions and editing. Yay.

That's how it's got to be done, though. That's how I'll get the writing groove back. The chair leg of truth has willed it to be so. It is wise and terrible and I fear it.

So watch for updates. I'm aiming at revising at least 7 pages a day. Or more. I'll let you know.

Thanks for staying tuned and being interested.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

No NaNo

I'm not participating in NaNoWriMo this year.

Settle down, settle down. The world is not going to end because I'm not trying to bang out 50K words in 30 days.

But here's why I'm not doing it:

I'm already elbow-deep in a new novel and I want to take my time with it so it's not a candidate for finishing during NaNo. In order for me to start up a new novel, I'd have to shelve the one I'm working on and also ignore the short story and novella I need to edit. I've got a lot on my plate right now and the day job has been sucking up my will to write. Well, also there's been a lot going on in my personal life too (nothing to get amped up about though, it's all normal stuff). PLUS my team is in the baseball World Series for the first time in 29 years. THAT'S pretty exciting and warrants my attention.

What I am going to do during November is edit. As noted above there are two things to edit and a novel to revise again. There's a lot of writing stuff to do besides the writing I actually need to get into.  Things will slow down a little in November and then in December I have to take a week long trip for work and oh yeah - the Holidays. Oh and I'll be at the Free State show this coming Saturday.

My writer's group is doing its usual thing and I will hang out with them as often as I can so I can focus on the things that need done. I will support the entire cohort however I can by exhorting them to contort themselves into writing. (I don't think that worked but I'm leaving it anyway. Eh.)

So I'm with your in spirit, fellow writers. I leave you with this directive:

And if that's not enough, here's Neil Gaiman with a special message just for you:

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Where To Find Me 10/25

I'll be doing Velocity Readouts on commission and hanging around to chat. Hope to see you all there.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The KC Royals Are In The World Series

Back a while ago, I tweeted this:

Then I went to dinner with my family.

Later that night...

The next morning:

And ever since the Kansas City Royals have been on a tear, winning 8 games in a row and heading to the World Series for the first time in 29 years. As a long suffering supporter/fan of the team I'm over the moon about this wild ride. Even my wife and son are watching with me.

I dunno if my wish had anything to do with this, but here's hoping it's not over yet.