Somehow, in the last two months, I’ve managed to keep working on a couple of promising short stories in the midst of a project that makes my Master’s thesis look like one of my kid’s books on the shelf behind my writing desk. The newer words have been hard to come by as I’ve dug deeply into the history of the American Revolution, but they are still there. It’s not what I’d like to have done during this time, but it’s what I could keep doing while reading, plotting, and researching.
I’m about ready to finish off this prospective outline and hope to get it into the hands of my collaborator in the next two weeks. I have to finish it, sleep on it, and then make sure I’ve managed to get all of the little plot pieces out of my head and onto the page. Once it’s there, I’ll send it in – just in time for the first round of edits on my novel Runs In The Family.
I’ve already spoken with my editor, and we agree that the original book started in the wrong place. With that new starting point identified, I now have to go in and figure out what critical parts we’ve cut and how that information gets to the “new” draft. Realistically, it’s not going to be head-banging-into-desk difficult, but it has taken a few brain cells to piece together.
Immediately after that should come edits for my novel Walkabout. Yep. Two novels this year to edit and polish for publication, and I’ll need to start writing the outlined novel as soon as I can get started on it. It’s going to be a busy year.
I have friends looking over the short fiction pieces – one of which has received some very promising personal feedback. I’m hoping to get them submitted to the usual run of markets this month. That’s been a major failing over the last several months – I have not submitted enough of my work. I’ve been a bit down about it, honestly.
Research is not writing. When I’ve been working on this project and letting my other work suffer, the doubt that comes with storytelling surfaces. I become convinced that my story (stories) are crap and not publishable. I tell myself this while I’m asked to contribute stories for anthologies and such. I tell myself this when I actually sell my work. I tell myself this because I watch so many of my friends having success that so far I can only wish for and yet I have my own measure of success. This dark thought process came from researching and not focusing on my stories. I know this now, and I understand it.
Researching has prevented me from getting new words down, yes. It has also prepared me to write the most detailed outline I’ve ever used for a writing project. That preparation should carry over to my storytelling when I start this book. The moral of this post is simple: don’t shy away from research when it has to be done. The time will come for those new words to flow, and the more prepared I am to listen, the better off my writing will be.