Monday, December 9, 2013

Just a little space

It's interesting, what some space can do for you.

It's oft-repeated advice dispensed to writers. Just finished a story or a novel or whatever? Put it away for a little while. Gain some perspective through distance. Give it a little space. Read other things. Write something else. Watch movies, screw around. Just don't look at that work in progress.

Though unfinished, I put The Last Song to bed several months ago. I was a little burnt on working on it, I was nearing the end but not ready to write the end yet (though I know what it is). Yesterday, I took it out and started reading through again (mostly to keep from prematurely working on Learn to Howl again, though the clock is ticking there). The first chapter, even after my previous rewrites, is a bit too disjointed and clearly doesn't have the impact I'd like it to. I was able to trim away paragraphs that were dead weight. In places, I've had to maintain perspective, fix a tense, change a reference. But overall? I'm pretty damn happy with it. It seems, to me, like it's the non-beastie Urban Fantasy type of story that a lot of people are looking for. No vampires, no werewolves, no fairies. Its bones come from Greek mythology, but it got bigger than that in the writing (as things do). Comp titles would be things like Alice in Wonderland, American Gods, and The Book of Lost Things.

But, talking about it doesn't get it written and edited. And once I  get Learn to Howl back from my trusty reader, I'll need to edit that again, and write a synopsis, to make the Angry Robot Books open door submission due date of December 31. I really dig that they encourage taking all that time, because I'm sure all of us have felt the regret of pulling the trigger on a sub too early. I'm excited to go through that process, because for the past almost two years, Learn to Howl has been my primary baby (books two and three pending; I'm not sure more than three books is necessary, but I'm confident a trilogy would carry). So starting to get it out there would be good for it and me, even if I'm rejected promptly. And with Learn to Howl, I've had space too, so it'll be interesting to see what comes of that for me.


  1. It's amazing what you can see when you leave something for a while and come back to it. (Though sometimes I leave it for too long, come back, and think "Ugh, all of this SUCKS, what was I on when I wrote this! ;) I'm sure there's good middle ground to be found somewhere.)

    Good luck with the submission process!

    1. Well, I at first thought I was in REAL trouble because I'd been doing some cut and paste style edit/rearranging when last I left off, but I ended up finding my place without a whole lot of wailing or gnashing of the teeth ^^

      My problem with leaving something too long is I can forget the point I was trying to make, or the ending, or what was supposed to come next. I had to scrap at least one project because I stopped mid conversation and don't know what the answer the question just asked was supposed to be.


  2. Wow, it sounds like you're in a good place with both stories. I'm happy that you had positive feelings about The Last Song when you went back to it.

    1. Thanks! I do think I'm in a good place with Learn to Howl. I hope so, anyway; I'll take my caution as a good thing. Pragmatism can be hard to hold onto.

      I have unbelievably positive feelings about The Last Song, which of course will make inevitable first-reader criticism worse ;)