The first writing deadline for my fourth term in Seton Hill University’s MA in Writing Popular Fiction was 27 July 2010, the day before yesterday. This was probably the hardest deadline so far because the revision process is being so utterly problematic.
I wrote up a new beginning to Accept Fire and Blood and took it to the local writer’s group last Wednesday 21 July. I again received the comment of “I don’t know why I’m reading this” so I had to look closely at the new beginning. This was the exact same reaction a good portion of critiquers have voiced from the beginning.
Here’s the funny part about this whole thing. The part that I now have as the actual beginning is the exact same opening line and beginning that I started with TEN YEARS AGO. I probably don’t need to highlight that so excessively, but it makes me trust my instincts a lot more about writing the story that’s in my head, not writing the story that I think people want to see.
There’s a couple different schools of thought there. Some authors believe in writing to the market and some authors believe in writing the story their characters tell them to write. Or the story that is based on that awesome idea they had. In my mind, it really is only two different schools of thought. One where you write based on what you think will sell and on where you write what you want and pray that someday your writing is good enough for it to sell.
I think I approach writing like I approach most things in my life. Those things that I actively want to do are those which I pursue and which give me the most satisfaction. It’s also the stuff I become really good at and the stuff that rewards me the most with my occupation. I think the two are linked. The more enthusiastic I am about something, the more my enthusiasm shows when I deal with other people and some of that enthusiasm rubs off on other people.
Kind of like having infectious energy.
I think that puts me firmly in the category of wanting to write my story and write it well, and maybe someday I’ll find the person who wants to sell my stuff as much as I want to write it. I’ve also revised the section my writer’s group saw from last week and gave it to them last night. Almost all of the comments were positive and the two new readers were also hooked. Those who read it last week were astonished at how different the section was, even though the same basic information and the exact same events took place.
My SHU mentor tells me that I am probably one of the fastest learners she’s had and I’ll admit that I really am a fast learner. If you tell me I’m doing something wrong, I’ll actually take active steps to fix it. I’ve got a great story and I want to tell it, which means that when people say I should fix things, they’re probably right.
Unfortunately, I did the math and realized that in order for my revisions to be completed on time, that basically means I have to revise a full chapter a week, and my chapters are long. This combined with reading the five books for the MA, doing my genre essay, preparing a teaching module for January, and preparing to do another extended research trip are making life a little more complicated and less time friendly than I’d anticipated.
It’ll all get done, though. I tend to be slightly tenacious and the only direction to go is forward.