I have a few minutes I can spare and I'm not yet finished with my current chapter, so this seems like a good moment to post some general comments about what I'm currently working on. My current writing project is tentatively titled Vanishing Act. It is, apparently, a young-adult modern fantasy novel. At least, the protagonist is a kid, and that seems to make it a young-adult novel in most people's eyes. I worry about that, because I was not, when I came up with the story, targeting any particular age group of readers. Ditto the modern fantasy bit. I wasn't shooting for any particular genre. In its genesis, the story was actually fully realistic (when it comes to magic, anyway) and then the fantasy angle just came to me and hit me over the head. As a reader I'm most comfortable in speculative fiction, so I guess it's only natural that my stories don't tend to stay fully mundane, even when they start out that way.
I don't have my jump drive with me, but off the top of my head I'd say I'm at 30,000 words or so. That's roughly 130 pages or so in the typeface I'm using. I think, based on my admittedly limited past experience, once I hit a hundred pages or so I usually have enough momentum to finish, so, for better or worse, I'll be shopping this thing around this summer. Hopefully I'll have more success with this one than I've had before.
I feel really good about my writing in it so far. There are a few places where I'm waiting to see how I solve some problems when I get there, but most of the story is plotted out in my head (and on my jump drive). Mostly the places where the fantasy aspect of it changes things. But I feel like I've grown a lot as a writer--that's what I tell myself when I think about the projects I've shelved, anyway. They were growing experiences, writing exercises, blah blah blah. It may just about be time for me to invest in a new Writer's Market or guide to agents.
Everything has suffered while I write. Every other task gets left until a crisis looms, and then I put out the fire, more or less, and go back to writing. Last night I paid the bills. Last week I got nearly caught up on lesson plans. The dishes? Crap, I don't remember the last time I did dishes. Luckily, I have a lot. And a big sink. At least I manage to help the kids with their homework every night.
My goal for the last two months has been to complete a chapter a week, and so far, so good. I fell behind for a week when I got the flue, but I managed to get caught up again the week before last. I'm sort of behind now, in that I haven't quite finished chapter eight yet, and would like to have finished it last weekend, but as long as I finish it in the next couple of days I'll be satisfied.
Chapter seven was actually chapter six, but it just kept going and going, until I decided to split it into two chapters--one of which was still pretty long. It ended on a very emotional note. Frankly, I was pretty effed up myself after writing it. I was also worried, because it was a pivotal chapter--basically the first huge plot turn. If I couldn't pull it off, then I might as well quit. My First Reader, who happens to be my wife, had positive things to say about it, though. She'd generally tell me if it sucked, so hearing her say last night (when she finally got around to reading it) that it was good really lifted my spirits.
I'm almost at the point where I'm ready to stop keeping this in-house and start drafting some of my closer friends into reading it. I don't think I'm quite ready to really seek out a lot of readers yet, though. I've had critiques in the past that were not constructive, and while those do have their place, I think, I'm not ready to take them with the grain of salt they deserve until I'm much closer to done. So soon I'll look for people I trust a lot, who will tell me if something sucks but do it in such a way that it doesn't leave me wanting to quit.
Blogging . . . I haven't pointed any of my friends in the direction of this blog yet. I'm not sure who it's for at this point. Mostly it's for me. If people who don't know me stumble across it--does that really happen?--then cool. It will give me fresh perspectives on what I'm thinking about. But for now, it's for all those meta-thoughts about writing that I keep wanting to go on and on about until people just want me to shut the hell up. It's too presumptuous for an unpublished writer to carry on about the act and process of writing, so rather than be a boor in person, I figure I'll blog about it, and people who aren't interested will just move on. I think that's why I haven't pointed any of my friends to it . . . I don't want anybody to feel any sense of obligation when it comes to reading my blog. I sure don't feel a sense of obligation about reading those of other people, so at least I'm not being unfair about it. ;) But this is a place where I can talk about all the other tasks that sit undone so that I can indulge my unproven belief that I can write. Maybe I can talk about unrealistic wishes here without embarrassing myself too much either. I can talk about such narcissistic things as nearly crying because of how mean I've been to my protagonist, or about how much I notice writing taking over the rest of my thought processes, and I'm not boring anybody.
Yesterday I noticed that the stuff on my profile is clickable, and that when I click on stuff it takes me to lists of other bloggers who share the same characteristic. And then I realized that I was so specific in some things on my profile that people who know me in real life who happen to blog on Blogger and happen to go looking for other people might very easily stumble over my blog. That's a bit intimidating, but I reckon I won't change anything. Hey, if you stumble across this and you know me, say Hi or something so that I know you're there and don't feel all embarrassed later, kay?
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