I haven't blogged since the conference. I haven't had anything to say.
Well, that's probably not true, but it would have been a bunch of negativity, and who wants that?
This year's conference had the same effect that last year's did: complete loss of confidence. It left me raw and uncertain. There was a point at which I wondered if I should even go back next year. And there have been other points during the last three weeks when I've wondered if I should continue writing at all.
In the weeks between then and now I have made some changes to Sweetwater Kill that were suggested by the codirector of the conference. It was an exercise in acceptance. Some of his points I completely agreed with; some of them seemed off-base until I understood that they were the result of ambiguity in my writing; and others made me gnash my teeth and seethe internally. The changes in that last group didn't get made, for the most part. I made small concessions here and there, but some of them would have changed the meaning of the story and the nature of the characters.
I have to thank the Forward Motion crew once again for seeing me through the two weeks it took to get that draft done – in particular Ann, Moosey, Paul, Empath, and Camilla (there are probably others who helped. If you're one of them, thank you, and I'm sorry that I didn't remember when I wrote this.) I bounced several of the changes off of them and got great feedback. They supported me through the teeth-gnashing, and told me when I was wrong.
I figured it would be like working with an editor, and in that sense was good practice.
I finished the draft a week ago, and then gave it to a trusted friend to copy edit before I give it to anyone. I was able to discuss some of the things that had come up during the last draft – things about the MC's character and whether that was coming across clearly enough (it's not) and how to tone down or eliminate a theme that had emerged and that I do *not* want. So there will be an eighth draft. *sigh* And then, so help me, I'm abandoning it to the editors. If anyone wants me to change it again, they're going to have to pay me to do it.
Because I'm spinning my wheels. I've been writing and rewriting and submitting the same two stories over and over, and it's taking time away from new work. Every time I think I'm done with them, someone reads them and comes back with more changes – some valid, some not. But I can't ignore the valid ones. They eat at me. So I write another draft.
I need to increase my body of *submitted* work. I have a few complete first drafts, but I need complete *second* drafts, and some submitted *third* drafts. I need to increase my chance of success by increasing the numbers.
For the past week I've been working on the second draft of Devotions, and with a little discipline I think I can have it done by the end of the weekend. It won't be cringe-free, but it should be critiquable. And then I have the choice of either Red Carpet (which needs so much rework I'm afraid to look at it) or Locks.
I'm also reading what I have of Pages, which was my 2004 NaNovel. I never finished it. But November is coming up quickly, and I don't want this one hanging over my head. So I'm reading it, catching up with my characters, and figuring out what needs to happen next – and then August will be spent finishing it. I was surprised to find that it's not complete crap. The writing is bad, but I can fix bad writing. I was worried that the story wouldn't be there – but it is. It's not a perfect story, but I think the bones are good. That was a pleasant surprise.
Well, that's my catch-up blog. There will be more to write about soon – like my older daughter's foray into fan fiction, and the fact that my fifteen-year-old sister is writing her *second* novel now.
If either of them publish before me I will be forced to commit hare kare to preserve my honor.