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If you followed a link here from a comment I made on somebody's google blog, I would love to have you visit my blog, but this is no longer it. While I may occasionally post things here again once in a long while, virtually all my content will be at www.labyrinthrat.com from here on out. If you were curious enough to come this far, why not give me one more click?

Monday, January 19, 2009

What have you done for me lately?

I'm really struggling to keep my focus on Vanishing Act right now. I've been immersed in this for so long, and I've learned so much that what I really want to do is write something new. I want a chance to put the lessons I've learned about story structure and character motivation and what makes short stories work into practice, not as an afterthought, going through and fixing an existing project, but from the get-go. And, on the grand scheme of things, it probably wouldn't be awful if I took a break and wrote two or three short stories to get it out of my system, except for a few things. First of all, I've got beta readers who are awaiting chapters from me, and I'm trying to go through my own tight edits before I send anything out to them. The more I lose my steam, the more they will lose theirs. Second, I've got agents who've expressed interest in this story, and I haven't followed up on those opportunities. That borders on criminally stupid. And possibly most importantly, there's this little voice in my head telling me to trunk this book despite the fact that I haven't sent a submission to a single agent or editor, telling me that I could make the next one so much better. And I don't want to be that guy--the guy who writes tons of stuff but never sends anything out. I've been that guy in the past; it's an easy pattern to fall into. So I need to make myself push on ahead.

I got a rather gracious rejection on "Unintended Consequences" the other day. The editor complimented my writing and expressed interest in seeing future work from me. The negative side of me can come up with all sorts of reasons not to take that as a positive sign, but I'm going to try to ignore that destructive voice.

That's part of what has me so motivated to write a new story--I think I'm close. This time the writing was there; the story just didn't do it for this editor. I'm inclined to believe part of that comes down to the fact that I'm trying to rework and improve old stories; in the end, they're still old stories. I think if I write some new ones now, I may just be crossing the gap between where I was and publishable.

Last week grades were due, and I was so focused on my day job, and how stressed out and behind I felt, that I had little time for anything else. Now the workload should ease up for a bit. I have no backlog. I have work to do, but I'm completely caught up. So who knows? Maybe I can stay ahead of my critters on VA and still manage to crank out a story or two.

3 comments:

lotusgirl said...

I think most authors have that voice that takes us over from time to time and tells us we're not worthy--that makes us ask ourselves who we think we are to deign putting ourselves in the same categories as Steinbeck and Hemingway and Heller and Dostoyevsky or whoever it is for you. That voice shut me up for a very long time. Now it's gagged and cowering in the corner. I can't be silent any more. I don't plan on being one of those guys--writing what they wrote or how they wrote. I've made a conscious choice to take a different route, and I'm happy with it.

Joe Iriarte said...

You're definitely right about that evil voice.

Honestly, I think at least part of why I blog is for accountability. If I blog for a year about writing a book and then I never even send it out, how stupid will I look then? Even though I don't have a lot of readers, this exercise forces me to think of the whole process as something I'm committed to, because I've talked about it "publicly."

(You know, it's funny how many of us must follow pretty much all the same blogs. I've seen you on at least two or three different ones! :D )

lotusgirl said...

I think authors who are just starting out begin with some of the same basic blogs and then find people that make sense to them and then follow those blogs more closely. Then we become friends and colleagues with those bloggers that speak to our psyches on one level or another.

It also helps me to talk about my writing goals publicly. It encourages me to work harder at it so I totally don't lose credibility.