Thursday, January 20, 2005

Re-visiting 2005 goals

Goals. Pesky little critters, aren't they? (Much like mice in that respect, come to think of it.) Can't live with them, can't live without them. (And that is where the differences begin...)

First off, I am not progressing as quickly as I'd like on *False Perceptions." My wordcount table tells me that I'm at about 66K, two thirds of my projected word count. My outline tells me that I'm at point 46 out of 60, three quarters finished. Best guess is that I have another 25K to go? Hmm. I guess that's still a *maybe* for mid February at 7K a week.

I need to figure out where I went astray on *Quest to be Queen* near the end of nano. The story started out light and fluffy and funny and it isn't that way anymore. Yes, it is a *real* story, so there have to be serious blocks to Teagren's goals, but I've lost the story voice somewhere. I don't want to simply finish it just to finish it; I want to figure out what it needs and THEN finish it.

The real trouble with my goals is *Heaven can Wait*. There's been a thread recently at FM about knowing when to give up on a story. I have invested a lot of time in the past two years to *Heaven*, but it still has some serious issues. I've written three drafts mostly from scratch. It's way better than it wmas, but I'm not sure how to solve the stuff that's still wrong. Is it worth saving? And if it is, is now the best time to do that? (By *now*, I mean after finishing the aforementioned first drafts.)

I look at the plans that are beginning to solidify for *Shann*, and I am getting really excited about writing that story. But I know I'll never get published if all I write is first drafts. I'm under no illusions that my first drafts are THAT good. (grin)

I do know that I've learned a lot through the books I've written so far. Is it time to say that *Heaven* was a fabulous learning curve, but that it can't take me to the top? Or will I learn enough by continuing to mess with it that it will justify the time spent, even though it may not ever be publishable? I wish I knew.

Mar suggests that I take the book out and re-outline it. Figure out what the purpose of each scene presently in the book is, and therefore which, if any, are redundant. Slot into the outline new scenes that may be needed to drive the plot or characters. Set it aside again for a bit, and then decide how much work it will be to bring it up to snuff. I do know I've learned a lot about outlining since I did the prep on *Heaven*, but it seems scary to outline a book after it is written. Let's say, for argument's sake, that I could be finished outlining by the end of March.

If I'm not convinced it's publishable, but I decide to go ahead and write the fourth draft for the exercise of it, then there's no huge panic to get it done this spring. I can even dig it out in a couple of years when I feel more equipped to fix it, sometime when I have a gap in my writing schedule. Can't see that happening, but I guess it's within the realm of possibility.

That would free me to start writing first draft of *Shann* earlier, if I'm ready, and that DOES excite me. Say, April - July should be well beyond ample.

By then, *False Perceptions* will have sat for four or five months, and I should be ready to hit revisions on it, just about the time the 2ynovel class officially gets to that stage. I don't know if the book is any good; I'm still in the middle of it, and too close to it to tell. But I do know it won't have the same kinds of continuity problems that *Heaven* does, that are causing me to choke up there. The 2yn class ends in December after walking us through the revisions, query letters, etc. So the theory says that by the end of the year I could still have one novel ready to submit, but not two. I think I can live with that.

Then I can either do nano 05, or go into *Shann* rewrites in the fall. I don't have to decide that now.

The thing is, pretending for a moment that I have these two first drafts completed, I've written two fantasies and two sfs. It has seemed easier for me to present the science fiction stories based on a Christian worldview than the fantasy ones. But I've been doing a lot of thinking, praying, reading, etc about how best to do fantasy that way. Face it, I like fantasy better as a genre, at least when it doesn't get too deep into blood magic and stuff like that. So potentially I may not go back to writing sf if I can get this figured out to my satisfaction.

Lots to think about. At least I've cleared the air and revised the plan to something more workable. Yes, I think I can live with this.


Marci said...

Hi Valerie - just a little note to encourage you along. I'm impressed that you're reviewing your goals. I make 'em and then forget 'em! :) So you go, girl. :)Marci

Ruth said...

Sounds like you have a real goal question, and that you've identified the issues you need to think about. Personally, at this point, since you seem to be going around about it mentally, I'd ask the Lord to show me, and ask Him to give me a peace with which way to go. Then, I'd set thinking-about-it aside for a day or two or three (preferably at least three). Then go back to it fresh and reexamine it. Just an idea! Meanwhile, congratulations on the tremendous volume of writing you are producing. You are really zooming! And that new mouse trap sounds deadly. Rustla bites the dust! "Squeak! Glug! Glug! Glug!" :)

Margaret said...


Just one more comment on your goals that I really think you may not have heard when I said it before.

You've set yourself a very ambitious plan and have already had to adjust it, removing what little wiggle room you had. While this is very realistic once you've got those contracts in hand, I, at least, believe in working up to a strength point and consistency. Don't push so hard that you burn yourself out. Finishing False Perceptions by the end of February will still put you ahead of a good portion of the class and give you enough time to edit.

Valerie Comer said...
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