This has been somewhat of a common theme around here lately, so if you kinda wanna skip this entry, I don't blame you. If still interested, however...
I'm struck more
and more how important this current project is, not by it's
publishing potential, not by its genre choice (though mash-ups are
the hot thing right now, lots of them being done well and horribly),
not because any particular publisher wants it, not because I've got
folks raving about it (a few of my colleagues liking the bits I post
on Facebook don't count as raving), but because of one, simple thing:
able to write "The End".
And right now,
that's the most important thing in the world to me.
Grange & The Chosen One
was a landmark, in some ways. Writing-wise, it is what it is:
the prose is clean, smooth reading, and I think it's a fun
story. It was really fun to write. More than one person
has read it and said: "You had fun writing this, I could tell,"
most notably (minor pimping of self here) Stoker Award-Winning author
you ALL should read). It got decent reviews, even a few Stoker
Rec's, and I'm proud of it.
But that's not
why it was so important.
because it was the first ever long work I actually
And that, my
friends, was huge.
A short history
lesson: I once ground away for SIX YEARS on half of a novel.
Kept moving things around. Changing the story. Couldn't figure
out the plot. Before that, I had written a novel, but even that
was a 178,000 word first act in an epic space trilogy that I had no idea how to end.
I didn't know
how to get to "The End". Of anything.
And it was
Finally, I threw
my hands into the air, gave up the novel, and for the first time
started writing short stories and book reviews. Anything that
was short, had a word count, and I could end.
I could actually draft
a finished piece, watch it get better. I did really well with the
reviews, ended up writing a paid freelance gig for our city
newspaper. Did marginally well with the short stories.
And then came
major challenge, to write something longer and actually FINISH it.
But I was under a time crunch. Had signed a contract. So
I outlined the thing - for the first time ever - and banged that baby
I actually wrote
Which, at that moment, felt better than getting published, almost.
enjoyed another sorta victory with my MA thesis for Creative Writing,
wrote a short novel - 50,000 words - and actually wrote 'The End'
So, I thought
I'd arrived (again). I'd now crank out novel after novel, start
building up a store of them, and no longer spin my wheels. That
thought in hand, I grabbed my MA thesis, started adding stuff in,
ready to write my magnum opus.
A year and half
wheels again. Because with all those converging plot-lines -and
the fact I hadn't outlined - I produced 600 pages of chaos. There's
five hundred good pages in there somewhere, but once again I'd come
This could have
been devastating. Crushing, even. Except that, along the way, I
learned the biggest reason why
these big novels kept falling flat on their faces.
Because I didn't
outline them. Plain and simple. Let's check the facts I learned
over that period:
1. I outlined
2. I outlined
several short stories in that time period - finished and sold
3. I outlined
and wrote full synopses for two Teen novels I'd been pitching.
I didn't write them, but because of the outlines, am confident I could
write them tomorrow.
4. Have since
outlined a novella I plan on writing soon as I'm finished with this
5. I outlined
this current project, and there's not been one minute of hesitation,
and I KNOW I'll finish it.
learned: I outline from now on.
Anyway, when my
"magnum opus" ground to a halt, I knew I had to write this
one, and not only because Billy the Kid had suddenly come to life and
started talking in my ear (that's always a really good sign).
But I had to write it because even though it had been turned down at
HarperTeen (though the acquisitions editor loved the idea), even
though I had no other publishers interested, I KNEW I'd finish it, knew
I'd write THE END to this one.
Which seems like
the most important thing in the world, right now. A finished
product I can draft and polish and rewrite until I like it.
That's the most important thing to me, at this very moment.
important than ever getting it published.
Which is ironic,
because I never thought I'd hear myself say that...