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warts and all

so i submit Running on Empty today, warts and all. that said, i do feel good that the warts in question were not the most ugly of things (a stranded quotation mark, a duplicated word, a comma instead of a period…); instead, i feel bad because there were more than a handful. i’m trying not to let this get to me, though. i decided to take this plunge, and the worst that will come of it is a rejection, just like the rest, so we keep moving.

which brings me to today’s little bit of writing. i’ve been trying to figure out what my next major project will be. i have a number of options

  • catch up with Rick and Sarah and co. in Book 2 of All Prophets Are Liars
  • watch as Kelly proves an old adage true (“The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable”) in the 3rd Kelly & Umber novel
  • make some direct use of my Master’s degree and start that historical fiction novel that’s been rattling around in my brain for a few years now
  • see what other problems Manadan & Gupti get involved in
  • reach for something else altogether, something entirely new
  • run with Herrick into the much larger story that his short just glimpses

i’ve tried to scribble out some initial thoughts, see if any scenes grab me, any potential storylines that demand to be written, but it’s been a bit of a slog, but i think i’ve discovered why, during some more scribbling this evening. there are a few reasons:

  1. it seemed easier to consider going for the existing storylines i’ve begun. the onus of that first birth is past, and each of the successive children in those families gets easier. i still push myself to try something new, to up the stakes, but there is something grounding and supportive about working in existing worlds. i know the rules, now, so i can bend or break them as i see fit, with less fear.
  2. the stories kicking around in my head seem like they would always be trying to get out onto the page, but they’re generally more like insects, buzzing noisily then fading away. they haven’t fully formed yet, i don’t  think. i have good ideas, but just as i don’t think i could have written a book before i eventually did (despite having wanted to) because i hadn’t gotten enough time and life, in addition to writing practice and skill, so, too am i not quite ready to do these stories justice. not long now, i don’t think, but not quite yet.
  3. as for finding a new idea, altogether, RoE gave me such a hard time at the beginning (and at VP, of all bloody places!), that i’m feeling a bit leary of trying that again so soon. i know it’s a temporary thing and i could probably push through it without the same difficulty at this point, but there’s a gut-level resistance i’ve still to overcome.

so where does that leave me? perhaps not surprisingly, it leaves me with RoE. for all the frustration and anger and perplexity i experienced with its creation, i am truly proud of the result, and i have begun to discover an entire swath of possibilities in Herrick’s story, both individually and universally. he has shed light (albeit briefly, but that’s really his way) on several unexpected areas of his life and he has gotten involved in something far larger than he, or i, imagined when we started. most telling of all, though, are the scenes that are starting to shine through the earlier fog, the scenes that make me want to write them.

how can i say no to that?

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