Although I often blog about writing, today is the first time I will share a snippet of my original fiction on this site. Below are the opening paragraphs of Chapter One of the novel manuscript I have spent the past few months polishing. As you may have understood from last week's post, I am not completely satisfied with my writing. I have lost confidence. But I do want to share my writing with others. I will never attain my personal goals of publication and inspiring others if I fail to share what I have written with an audience.
I'm coming to the end of editing before trying to pitch and/or query my fantasy novel manuscript. It's been a long road. I finished writing the story several years ago, started edits and rewrites, and then set it aside for over a year. I love the characters and settings I developed in this work, but I was a afraid no one would like the story. And so I let no one else see it despite wanting to get it published someday.
Again, my weekend was not as productive as I had hoped it would be. After fighting with sinus headaches for most of Saturday and Sunday, I ran into a scene during my editing sessions which reads clunky and rough compared to previous scenes. I know this is the type of writing I produce when following the advice of "just get it written and fix it later," and now I am stuck in a position I hate when it comes to writing. I find myself asking if the current text is worth salvaging or if I should simply start over from scratch. Which will be easier? Which will be more time efficient? Which will get me to a point of being happy with the quality of the scene? This dilemma is why I prefer to address quality during my drafting process. Why write something I know will never make the final cut?
It's about one-third of the way through November, and I've already had a busy month thus far. Every year I know once Halloween has passed, my winter holiday preparations will begin and there will never be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I wish to do. This is why I am disappointed in myself today. Instead of working on any of my many projects, I spent a lazy day in front of the TV and laptop and did quite a bit of pleasure reading too.
October is winding down and that means National Novel Writing Month is peeking around the corner. November can be a great month to be a writer, but preparing for the month-long writing marathon can be a bit daunting. Personally, I never attempt to achieve the goal of writing 50,000 words during November, not with Thanksgiving celebrations and prep-work for Christmas shrinking my free time during the month. But I do enjoy being able to connect with other active writers who chase that difficult goal. NaNoWriMo is a great time to discuss writing strategies, conquering writer's block, planning vs pantsing, and a wide range of plotting, setting, and character topics.
I made quite a bit of progress on my working vacation, and now that I'm home again, I want to keep my momentum going. I cut in half the amount of chapters I have left to edit on my current WIP. Once I finish the last few chapters, I plan to do a final read-through before prepping for querying and pitching in December. I still have my doubts about this manuscript's quality, but then I do admit to having a perfectionist streak in me and needing to get over the fact I can't please everyone.
As one of those people who has limited time to work on my personal projects, taking a working vacation has become a regular occurrence year after year. For me, this means taking my camera and laptop along on my trips so I can work on two of my hobbies at once, photography and writing. This year will be no different.
We had another beautiful weekend in western Pennsylvania, and my family and I took the time to attend another history/craft festival. Unlike some of the other festivals we visit, Penn's Colony festival has multiple, small shacks which hold individual vendors in between the typical canvas tents commonly seen at other regional craft shows. These shacks range between 100 and 200 square feet of floor space and will have either shelves or hooks for displaying crafters' goods. Some of the larger shacks host food vendors as well. They're built of rough-cut boards nailed together vertically in the traditional American barn-style and are tall enough to hold a loft under their A-frame roofs.
Friday I participated in an educators' workshop hosted by a center at which I interned during my college years. While the topics and presentations given were familiar to me, seeing them again after so many years helped me to recognize teaching techniques missing from my own lesson plans and has inspired me to dig deeper into topics I would like to add to my class repertoire. I now plan to revamp my educator's teaching guide for my current workplace for a second time.
Much of this weekend threatened rain, keeping me inside where I spent most of my time editing my novel manuscript. I'm hoping to pitch or query it this winter, but putting the final polish on it is difficult for me, perfectionist that I am. I realize some other writers have the same problem, but such knowledge is not enough to silence my inner critic.