Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Why the Year didn't Completely Suck (for Me)

I haven't seen a single person talk about 2016 being a good year.

It seems like the past twelve months have been a long-running parade of awful for much of the world, and I don't remember the last time I saw so many people talk about how glad they were for this year to be over.  It hasn't been an easy year for me.  Confronting and dealing with my depression was necessary but has never been something I've enjoyed, and the anxiety issues that come with it make life more difficult.  A lot of this year's writing has been rough for me as well - I went through a period where I genuinely lost faith in my own work, and I've spent more time than I want to admit wishing I could quit.

Not that I could quit, not really.  I'd declare it and then I'd be back here in less than a month, talking about how wrong I was and hopefully enduring some good-natured but well-deserved mockery.  :P

This has also been a year of trying things that didn't work.  Part of my frustration came from trying to plot things and having them fall apart, even more than usual.  I'm still struggling with something I so very much want to write, but I can't figure out what's wrong with the world I've established that doesn't suit the story and it's driving me batty.

But something good did happen this year: I wrote STARWIND.  This was my third try at writing an interplanar adventure story; my previous attempts were varied and mediocre, though one involved someone wielding Mj√∂lnir and that was fun and I'd like to do it again someday.  I plotted STARWIND back in 2014 and sat on it for nearly two years because I couldn't figure out why it didn't quite work.  It took me until late 2015 to figure out that the main characters' genders were wrong, and even then, I didn't think I was ready to write it until April of this year.

I enjoyed the hell out of writing this book, and response to it has been more positive than I could have possibly imagined.  So many people I've told about it say it sounds interesting, even if it's not their usual genre.  The feedback from my beta-readers has been both encouraging and tremendously helpful.  And of course, there was the thing on the writing cruise where I got to give my pitch to an actual agent and he generally liked it.

So I'm ending the year with a book that's nearly ready for querying, a book I'm feeling really damn good about, despite how hard I thought it would be to find an audience for this book.  It seems like I was seriously wrong about that - judging by peoples' reactions, the best way to find an audience for STARWIND is just to tell people about it.  Bizarre.

My other plotting work hasn't all been frustration, either.  Earlier today, I dug up a plot I worked on before writing STARWIND, something I hadn't looked at since April.  And you know what?  It's good.  Really good.  I'm glad I remember working on it, else I'd think it wasn't mine.  :P  Plotting STARWIND's sequel is also going well, and it's good to feel confident enough about the book to think I'm going to need to have a sequel plotted.

It's a good thing, I think, to look beyond such a bad year with some hope for the future.  I'm not looking forward to querying (or writing the query letter and synopsis, which I still need to do), but I am looking forward to seeing how it goes, as it doesn't seem like this book is going to be as hard a sell as I thought.  And if I can go into that with hope, that's half the battle right there.

So that's how I'm choosing to go into 2017: with enough hope to keep going, and enough behind that hope to not feel like it's foolish.  I hope you all can do the same, if not better.

Next week: IWSG.  Hopefully I'll actually be able to do the entry I've been meaning to for the past two months.


  1. This year has been full of its ups and downs, but I'm not deeming it a 'bad' year either. Finishing Starwind is a huge accomplishment! And good for you to be thinking of a sequel and keep heading forward. See you in 2017!

    1. Sequel planning always has a kind of "all for naught" vibe for me, but I'm willing to keep at it for STARWIND because I'm really hoping it'll be worth it. ^_^

  2. When did you go on a writing cruise? (AWESOME by the way. I took a step back from blogging this year and missed some stuff. Sorry)

    It sounds like a great year for you! Writing something you love, getting the positive feedback, pitching to an agent. Look at you go, Mason! 2017 will be just as great!

    (And don't kick yourself for thinking about quitting. I do it from time to time too. I like to think "there is a way out" and then remember writing IS the way out, so I'm sort of stuck with it.)

    1. I went in September - look back at that month's entries if you wish, all the stuff's there. ^_^ And I do hope that 2016 retroactively turns out to have been a good year for me; writing's such a long game that it's usually really hard to tell.