There are certain things in life, certain events, where you just have to make the hard decision. Knowing when to abandon friends to invading zombie masses. Knowing when the deal the aliens are trying to make for your planet’s water is a bad deal. And now to add that to that list – knowing when it’s the right time to step away from a novel.
This is not an easy decision point. At least with the zombies, I know who among my friends will slow them down a little. But as readers of this blog know, I’ve been struggling pretty hard for the last month or so with the epic fantasy novel I’m working on. And by struggling, I mean flailing around a lot, arms and legs kicking out in spasms, and no substantive progress being made.
It’s time to take a break.
It pains me to admit that, because I loathe stopping projects once started. The interruption usually leads to me not finishing. But the fact is, I am floundering horribly on the current bit, and spinning my wheels on it isn’t getting me anywhere. I had hoped our road trip would breathe new life into me, but when I got back to the Bay area and sat down at the keyboard, I was still dead and lifeless when it came to the novel.
With NanoWriMo looming just around the corner, I think I’m going to shelve The Goddess Unbound for now. I’m writing up all of my thoughts for the novel, all the murky hunches and notions I had brewing so that I can pick it back up later. I will probably spend a good week on that (there’s a lot in my head still). Once I’m satisfied, I’ll start working on my ideas for this year’s NanoWriMo novel, a YA book. I’ve picked up some old favorites from when I was a kid to try to recapture that feeling, but I already have a solid plot developing in my head.
There are a few mantras you have to repeat to yourself when submitting short stories. “Keep it out there” is an important one – never let the story sit, eventually it will find a market. “Keep track of your submissions” is a super valuable one that I don’t think gets enough press. Whether you pay for Duotrope, use the amazing services of The Grinder at Diabolical Plots, or run your own homebew solution, you have to keep track of where you sent a story and when. This helps you not send it to the same editor twice, but it also let’s you keep track of how long it’s been out.
Take me. Lately, my stories have been novel length. That doesn’t mean I won’t write a short story if it bites, but most of the stories I’ve been working on of late have been, well, longer. That wasn’t always the case, and with some downtime yesterday I reviewed where I had stories pending still. To my surprise, and thanks to pure neglect, I had a few stories that had been out long past the point that I should have heard something back. So I did the only thing that made sense.
I wrote the editors and asked if they were still considering the story. This may seem a bold move if you know me, but at 100+ days, I figured it was about time.
This morning, one of the editors responded. Which is why I’m happy to share that I have my second publication (pending), a sale to the Enter the Apocalypse anthology. I don’t want to give too much away yet, but consider the story has both kaiju and vampirism in it, and this song was in my head when I wrote the first draft.
And happy Friday!
I’m in a bit of a doldrum, folks. I am committed to finishing the first draft of this fantasy novel. The problem is, life’s insurmountable distractions aside, the capricious thing I call a mind is trying to convince me that the story is boring. That it’s time to move on to work on other things, more exciting things. Everything on the other side is shiny and new and untouched, and the fantasy novel is dull and boring and uninspired.
That might actually be true. It doesn’t matter, but it might be.
So why continue ploughing forward? Because I feel this way as I draw to the end of every novel. I know there are flaws in this draft – the hints I started the novel with that I never brought up again. The guns I placed on the fireplaces but left to collect dust. The shape of the novel evolved as I wrote, but I’m letting the part of me that knows there’s inconsistency cloud my judgement.
So it’s time to write it forward. I’ve said this before, I know. Frequent readers have heard me pledge I’m going to speed this up and finish writing, and yet here I am a month later and barely 10k further along.
To answer the question – I cannot say with any alacrity that Cummings has written lately. A few thousand words here and there, but nothing that distinguishes me as a writer. But I’d like to finish this novel before GeekGirl Con, which means I have just over two weeks. If I apply myself, that should be enough time. I’ve been using Novlr for the last few weeks, and really appreciate it as a soon-to-be scrivener online. I’m working through a bug with the developers (my most recent chapter is being moved around on me), but that aside really enjoy the app. Plus, it lets me utilize my Chromebook completely now, which is always a plus.
OK, enough babbling about that. I need to get some work done so I can settle in for an intense writing session later.