Monday, August 26, 2013

Once More Unto the Breach

...I really wish that was "Once more unto the Beach".  I could really use a vacation right now.  Oh, wait; I'm leaving for Dragon*Con in less than three days.  Never mind.  ^_^

Anyway, I finished with the first round of edits on The Accidental Warlock tonight.  The book sits at version 1.22, which means "first draft, been edited twice, had two scenes undergo additional significant changes".  Don't laugh, it works for me.  As soon as I finish writing this, I'll send it off to my pre-readers, and the next wave of edits will happen after that.

And hell's bells, I'm still scared.

I talked about this some in my last entry (which was way too long ago, but I was editing, so I blame that).  Yes, my fear of failure is still much stronger than my fear of critique, so it's not like I'm going to give in and not send out the story.  And I want people to read this.  Far, far too much of what I write, nobody else ever sees.  It's just that sending it out for other people to read leads to too damn many questions.

Will anyone like this?  Will they read the first chapter and be able to guess the entire story?  Will they think the romance doesn't work?  Will they think the villain's too subtle or not subtle enough?  Will they wonder what the hell's going on when I thought I spelled everything out clearly?  Will I get my story back with remarks that basically amount to "Don't bother trying to get this published"?

Yes, I am in fact a roiling ball of insecurities right now.

But the thing is, there's no other way to do this.  There's not a chance in hell I'd shoot myself in the foot by querying agents with a book that nobody else had ever read.  And the friends who've agreed to read TAW are all pretty familiar with how I write; they've all read at least one of my other books, though for some of them, it's been a long, long time.  I've gotten better since then, I know that much.

I try telling myself that I might have nothing to worry about, but I know I'll get back critique that's hard to hear.  But in the end, that will make the book better.  It has to.  And anything's better than hearing nothing at all.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have e-mails to send.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Fear and Editing in Abraxas

(With apologies to Hunter S. Thompson.)

Yesterday, I started the first round of edits on The Accidental Warlock.  I glued myself to my chair (figuratively) and hammered through five chapters, the entire first quarter of the book.  Something I learned when I was editing Skyborne was that it helps to edit in large chunks, as that makes it easier to remember everything and catch continuity errors and the like.

It's also a great way to wonder where the hell three hours went.

I felt more than a little trepidation going into this.  Before TAW, the last two books I wrote, well... they sucked.  I finished them and knew I'd never go back.  Granted, I knew it was over with those before I even finished writing them, and didn't feel that way with TAW.  So I was feeling optimistic.  And you know what?

It's good.  It might even be great.  I really, really like this story, and even after spending nearly three and a half hours today editing chapters six through ten, I want to get back to it and keep working on it.  And this is where the fear comes in.

This is the next book I'm going to try to get published.  And that means releasing it into the wild.  That means having friends read it and getting feedback full of things I never thought of, feedback that makes me feel like an idiot for not seeing it.  It also means sometimes saying "No, I'm not changing that" and wondering whether I'll have to defend my choice or not.  It means I might have to rewrite huge chunks of the story, which will of course make everything take longer.

Worse, it means query letters and pitch contests, condensing everything great about roughly 96,000 words into a few sentences and the book's first few paragraphs.  And yet still worse, it means agent searches and rejection letters.  I know everyone deals with rejections, and I don't think there's a damn one of us who's gotten to the point where they don't hurt at all.  It gets easier to shrug them off, but every single time, there's that sense of "Damn, that could have been it."  It's even worse when that sense is "Damn, that agent seemed awesome and I really wanted to work with them."

And I know how all this could end.  I know that, by the end of next year, I could be doing a blog entry about how I'm setting The Accidental Warlock aside to try to get another book published.  I know this could be yet another Learning Experience.

But I have to try.  I've talked about my utter fear of failure before.  And the fear that comes with the attempt at publishing is freaking Bambi vs. Godzilla compared to my fear of failure.

Once more unto the breach, as they say.  Let's hope one this goes well.