Wednesday, 4 June 2014
What's Up Wednesday & IWSG
It's time for What's Up Wednesday, a weekly meme run by Erin L Funk and Jaime Morrow. Here's what I've been up to this past week!
What I'm reading
I've been reading the Split Worlds series by Emma Newman, and loving them! Sometimes I can tell by a book's description that it'll be right up my alley, and urban fantasy stories about hidden worlds, sorcerers and faeries are always guaranteed to get my attention! :D
I also read The Darkness of Light by Tammy Farrell - I won a signed copy in a giveaway, and I really enjoyed it! :) It's an awesome historical fantasy set in 6th-century England and based on Irish mythology.
And...my copy of City of Heavenly Fire finally arrived. Eeeek! I was lucky that I didn't run into any spoilers beforehand (kind of been avoiding Tumblr all week because of that!), and could just dive into reading it. And it was amazing! :D
What I'm writing
My YA contemporary fantasy WIP. :) This is a fun project, in the sense that it's probably totally unmarketable. But it's relaxing after finishing my draft and revising my MG fantasy within a week! Speaking of which, my MG book is currently with a bunch of lovely beta readers! *eek*
What inspires me
Worlds and words. ^_^ I love it when I read a bunch of awesome books in a row, even if I do end up feeling vaguely lost and walking around in a book-haze for days afterwards.
What else I've been up to
My boyfriend drove down to visit. :) We saw the new X-Men film, which was fantastic!
It's time for IWSG! The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the creation of Ninja Captain Alex, and is a great way for writers to share their worries, support and encouragement.
I missed last month's IWSG as I was in lovely sunny Mallorca, but I think the theme of the past two months has been the same: indecisiveness! I'm at the point where juggling so many projects in different stages means that several times a day, I go through a mini-crisis about what to do with them all. As I ride the publishing rollercoaster of soaring heights and crashing lows, it can be hard to get a bit of perspective on everything!
I talked about this a bit in my last IWSG post, but it sometimes feels like there's too much choice. My goals and plans change every day, and sometimes I wish I could just remove my brain and extract the useful bits floating amongst all the fluff. Except...not, because I don't think I could write with no brain. :P
My dilemma is this: I'm working on, in some form, seven different series. Only one of my series under contract (the Darkworld series) and I have three manuscripts complete and polished outside of that. Obviously, that gives me a lot of options...in theory. But of those manuscripts, one has a trope no editors are buying (or so I'm told), and one's in a dead genre. The other is my MG fantasy book, and I'm tentatively hopeful about it. But would sending that book out into the wild querying world mean giving up my chances with my other manuscripts? I plan on sharing all of my stories one way or another, but it's hard to decide which is the right path for each one. Self-publishing, for instance, is not an investment I can afford to make, certainly not while I'm living the glamorous life of a penniless freelancer and graduate, hermit-ing in her parents' attic and slowly going insane from the craziness inside her own brain. *ahem*
"Interesting". If I had a penny for every time someone called my stories "interesting" or "potentially interesting", I wouldn't need to sell books! But that "interesting" is always inevitably followed by, "but..." or "unfortunately"... It seems to be a recurring pattern. How to rise above "interesting" and become "amazing"? If there's one lesson I've learned over the past year, it's that a solid idea and carefully applied craft doesn't necessarily lead to publication. You can follow all the rules: spend months researching and building the world; write the book; rewrite; revise; get feedback on every aspect of craft from a tight plot to three-dimensional characters to world-building and spend more months revising accordingly; hone every sentence; write a query letter and spend even more time revising and getting feedback and revising again; write an eye-grabbing pitch that has people asking to read the book...
...and it's not enough. The request rate is, well, zero. I'm never sure how much of this I should be sharing, but seeing as I've stopped querying the book in question, I suppose it can't hurt. It's not even the rejections I mind. It's the comparison game. I love success stories! But when I'm drowning in the crashing lows of the publishing rollercoaster, it can be so hard to face even Twitter. (And I love Twitter!) Because there is no "secret formula" to success. Once you've got past the point where you've learned the rules and written several manuscripts (and even published more than one), it literally just seems to be a matter of writing something that an agent "connects with". And it's not always clear what that is. At this point, it's all subjective.
Anyway... the question I keep asking myself is this: am I crazy in focusing on my MG fantasy, even if it means sacrificing all of the work I've put into my other manuscripts? It's not just about the genre and concept, although both are points in its favour. It's also, as I said last week, the most "me" of the books I've written. It's a book I'd love to find on the shelves (and would probably have loved even more when I was the target age!). I love my other manuscripts, and the experience of writing in different genres and styles has taught me a lot about my individual narrative voice. But this one is special. If an agent falls in love with this particular book, I could feel confident that they get "me" as a writer.
Which is why I'm going to do it. It's scary, of course, and it kind of means re-evaluating all my other plans for the rest of the year. But I've spent too long second-guessing myself. If I believe in this project, then it has to be this one - and I've had great feedback so far. Maybe I'm crazy to keep dreaming like this, after so many near-misses, but surely there has to be someone looking for a manuscript like mine!