Monday, April 13, 2015

First Quarter Check-In

Well, I'm slowly getting back into the swing of things.  I've been writing fairly regularly, and I think I stand a chance of making it for Camp Nanowrimo this month.  (Note to self:  the next time you think about doing two swaps on Ravelry that are due the same month, which also happens to be a Nanowrimo month?  Don't do that.)  It seems like a good point to check in against the goals I set for myself at the end of last year.  Things have obviously shifted in priority, so it's also a good time to redefine those goals.

  • Complete draft of book 2 of Paranormal Investigations, Inc.
    • Due: April 30
    • Q1 Status:  This one got put on the back burner, as this series is the one that feels too much like Maureen Johnson's Shades of London series.
    • New due date:  Uncertain
  • Complete draft of Church of Book
    • Due: August 31
    • Q1 Status:  I think I'll meet this goal, even though it isn't the same Church of Book it was when I first drafted these goals.  I've basically started from scratch, and it's my current Camp Nanowrimo project.
  • Win at least one of either Camp Nanowrimo or Nanowrimo
    • Due: November 31
    • Q1 Status:  In progress for the April Camp Nanowrimo
  • Complete edit of Paranormal Investigations, Inc.
    • Due: December 31
    • Q1 Status:  As this is on the back burner, it's being pushed back for now.
    • New due date:  Uncertain
  • Submit at least one short story for publication
    • Due: December 31
    • Q1 Status:  Haven't even started anything regarding this yet.
Speaking of short stories...At Norwescon the weekend before last, I went to a panel on story structure.  As the structure of Church of Book has changed, I wanted to get a better sense of what tools I could use, and in general the panel was very informative.  However, I did ask the panel about my specific structure (essentially, flashing back to historical moments that explain the magic system, and then flashing forward to the main contemporary story) to see if it at least made sense.  Most of the panel said yes and gave me a few suggestions, but Steven Barnes, one of the panelists, stopped everyone and asked me if I'd been published.  When I said no, he started looking doubtful.  He said that the structure I proposed was "fifth grade material", and he wasn't sure if I was out of kindergarten yet.

I spoke to him after the panel, asking if he thought I should even bother continuing with the book if he thought it was so far beyond me.  I was upset, I admit - Mr. Barnes is a well-known and well-respected author, and one whose advice I value.  I've never been one to appreciate if someone tells me that something I want to do is beyond my reach, which didn't help matters.  Mr. Barnes told me to go ahead and continue, but not to focus all my effort on it, and to write short stories and submit them in the meantime.  It didn't matter to him that I'd submitted stories before, because it wasn't something I was doing right that second.  "Being a writer is about what you do every day," he told me.

Well, I agree with that last sentence, but I don't know that I agree with what I need to do.  I need to write, and regularly, obviously, but I don't think waiting to submit works until they're right means I'm less of a writer.  A writer writes, after all.  And this one is going to write.