Tuesday, April 2, 2019

April Update: Successful Editing Quarter

I'm going to take a minute to brag.

I edited the shit out of March. I got my intensive first edit of MystWatch 3 done within the first three weeks of March, got it out to beta readers, then I turned around and did a final proof of Druid Wars 1. I kicked so much ass, and I'm incredibly pleased with myself.

Not only that, I also managed to write a couple of short story snippets, thanks to the Neil Gaiman Masterclass, and brainstormed a couple of different future story ideas.

And then, I spent the first day of April doing a final edit on my query and putting together my first batch of agent queries. Those went out this morning.

It has begun.

The next several months will be a roller coaster ride of hope and rejections. I'm ready. I mean. Ish.

In the meantime, I need to shift focus. My editing quarter was a resounding success. And now, it's time to start my writing quarter. It may take me a few days to switch gears from editing to writing, which makes me glad I'm starting with SP. She makes for a good transition series. I'm all signed up for Camp Nano, and now that I've got about a week or two before I hear back from my first few queries, I have some time to be creative and stop thinking business.

I do want to think about craft for a minute, though. Neil Gaiman made me think about a lot of things I already know how to do and the things I need to work on. But someone also shared an article with the writing group that I found really interesting, and it got me thinking about my One Free Trick.

Basically, this writer says everyone gets one thing by default that they're really good at. The rest we have to learn to do better. I keep trying to figure out what my one thing is. Every time I think I have it narrowed, I trace it back to where I learned to do it, instead. So I've finally come down to, I'm good at putting characters in situations where there's going to evoke some emotional response from the reader.

I like to believe that I have the Plot Machine figured, but there was a long time I was bad at beginnings, middles, and ends. I think I have an instinctual feel for the shape of stories, so story structure comes pretty easily. I'm good at coming up with horrible things to happen to my characters to keep them from their wants and needs. And I've gotten good at subverting reader expectation, once Ted taught me how to do that. Dave taught me to do better dialogue. Dianne has taught me a lot about showing versus telling. Amanda helps me figure out where I've hit the emotional beat I meant to hit and where I missed. Jack gives me weird stuff I wouldn't have thought to include. Rachel gave me the confidence to keep writing what I love and put myself out there.

Yes, I had a few solid tricks when I first started writing, but it's been thanks to all of my friends (and family, too! My brother and sister are my biggest fans!) that have made me a better writer, and kept me writing even when things seemed bleak.

Anyway. I digress. I've just found it interesting to reflect on my process, and my journey as a writer. Especially since I'm trying to hard to take the next big step in that journey.

But for this month, I just need to write. Hopefully I can wrap up this next SP adventure. And then, over the rest of the quarter, finish up writing Chain Letter. And write another short story at some point. Here's hoping my writing quarter is as epic as my editing quarter! Really liking this goal system so far.