Monday, April 26, 2010

Post: Back to Square #1

First, I want to start off by saying that the conference, as a whole, was a wonderful and educational experience. I want to thank the people who put all their might into making this happen, and for all the writers who came to show their stuff. You are an inspiration to me.

Now I'd like to drag your attention to the Laire's two latest followers: Author Elana Johnson and Bill Bennett. Welcome to the Laire! Elana hosted an awesome query letter workshop and used my query as an example (of a not so good one), but she was very super in being extra willing to help beef up my query, as well as provide guidance in how to write a killer query forevermore. Thanks, Elana! I'm eternally grateful! Also, Mr. Bill Bennett, formerly of Franklin/Covey, who's decided to start writing. Very good for you, Sir, and welcome aboard!

And now, the honest truth. I was telling the truth before, but I have to let this out, too. Last year was my first time at this conference, and I finally figured out (or so I thought) what my voice was. Since then, I've spent countless hours, to the point of near chronic fatigue, writing and polishing everything I have in my head and on my shelf. After the second boot camp session and reading through the critiques for my first chapter contest entries, I felt mightily discouraged and conflicted. Probably the most discouraged and conflicted in my entire writing career. I thought for sure I had learned my lesson, but I've still got a lot of work to do. For the most part, the contest judges really enjoyed my stuff. One of them did not (and provided a few "how to write" tips that made me feel as if I'd never written anything before), but no one can please everyone, right? I just have to work at my market and not conform to a single person's way of doing things.
To all the judges and writers/editors who read my stuff and provided helpful/constructive advice and critiques, I thank you, and you know who you are.

Furthermore, I want to thank my wife who sat with me for almost three hours Saturday night, with a tissue box in hand. Yes. I'm a sensitive guy. I felt like quitting, there and then. After twelve years of writing, I still have nothing to show for it, except for the large file of mostly unreadable tripe on my hard drive. It was my wife, however, who grounded me by comparing my latest writings to some of her favorite authors, including Gail Carson Levine and Shannon Hale. Really? I just have my own way of doing it, and I can make it better/publishable. Discouragement. What a beast to wage war with!
Thanks, sweetheart for your love and tenacious insistence that I keep writing!

Update: Chapter 9 is almost done, but I'm going to put that on hold so I can tweak the prologue, based on the suggestions for improvement that I received. After that, Chapter 9 won't be a chore to finish up. A part of me wonders if I should go back to the very beginning again and look into what I have so far in my current story, or proceed with the second half, using what I have learned? It's complicated. I really want to start chapter 11. It's killing me.

That's all for now. Come back Thursday for some advice, and I think it's time to get back to the basics with a very good question by one of our followers. Until then, keep it up, and it's okay to breakdown every once in a while. Nothing a chocolate shake can't cure. ;)

I'm David, and my prologue looks better than ever!