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Looking Back

Well, it’s that time of year again, to look back at the goals I set at the beginning of the year and assess how I did. I know the answer already. I didn’t accomplish any of my goals. Not one. In fact, I’ve done very little writing of any kind this year. Not much to report, but it’s certainly worth reflecting on why–and what I might do about fixing that situation.

So, here they are:

First Goal: Complete the rewrite of MAGE STORM and publish it.

Mage Storm

Yeah, this is the one that seems to have derailed the whole year. My enthusiasm for this project just faded to nothing. There may be a couple of reasons for this. First, I’d already written at least two versions of this story. Now, that’s not fatal. I’d written two versions of THE SHAMAN’S CURSE before the final one, too.

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But when I did that, I truly started over and rewrote the story–not without any reference to the earlier versions, but a true rewrite. I tried to take a short cut with MAGE STORM and just revise the existing portions and add new material. And, yeah, revisions are not the part of the writing process which really generate a lot of enthusiasm. When I tackle this one again, it’s going to have to be a ground-up rewrite, I think.

Second Goal: Begin work on the second book, tentatively titled ROGUE MAGE. (But see above backup goal.)

Yes, well, having failed to get very far with the first book, it’s not a big surprise that I didn’t accomplish this either. Although, I did, at one desperate point, try to start this one in a vain attempt to generate that lost enthusiasm.

Third Goal: Housekeeping-type things:

  • Do some work on this website and on my Facebook Author Page to make them more appealing and more professional.
  • Establish some kind of regular promotions.

Now, this one I might have done. But, I didn’t.

Fourth Goal: Continue learning and improving:

  • Continue reading and learning about other aspects of the craft, chiefly marketing/promotion and better launch strategies for new books.

Well, alone on this list, this one might not be a total washout. I have done some reading about these and other aspects of the craft. And thinking. Also, there are other things to learn outside the craft that could spark ideas–and I have done a little of that, too.

And, finally, the back-burner list. Things I am not, at this moment, ready to write, but need that final inspiration or two that pulls them out of the pile and makes them irresistible.

One or more sequels to DAUGHTER OF THE DISGRACED KING. ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

No, but I did try to shoe-horn my idea for a Cinderella retelling into this world. That didn’t work, either.

  • Fairy tale retellings, including MEADOWSWEET.

MEADOWSWEET, which was meant to be a retelling of “Little Furball” is probably permanently off the table. The version of “Little Furball” I grew up with was a considerably sanitized one. Doing more research into that fairy tale pretty well killed any interest I had in it. And ruined one of the favorite stories of my childhood. Oh, well.

  • My much-neglected weird Oz story.

Nothing started. Nothing really planned in the short term. Maybe I’ll get in some more reading of the original Oz stories–which are not much like the Judy Garland movie–not even the first story. Baum had a truly . . . unique . . . imagination.

Nope.

The final book in the CHIMERIA series.ChimeriaBox

Again, nope.

  • And that Arthurian-legend, secret-history idea I’ve been playing with off and on.

Now, here’s one, finally, that has some possibilities. I said there were other things to learn besides craft. A couple of courses on The Great Course Plus and a quick survey of some English history have given me some ideas in this regard. I may choose to do it as a second-world fantasy rather than be bound by trying to stay true to all of the historical details–not just of events, but the ways people lived, etc. Over at least four centuries–possible more, depending on where I choose to start–that could be just another way to not writewhich is not what I’m looking for. Either way, I still have some thought to put into world building. The magic system would probably be minimal in this one, but I do need something important enough for two groups to fight over and continue to fight over for generations. What so desperately needs to be defended? Why do the opposition want it so badly? Until I have that worked out, this will still be in the planning stages. But at least I have started thinking about it.

  • I’m sure others will raise their heads as I go along. In my experience, there’s nothing like writing one idea to cause others to spring up along my path like bunny rabbits.

Well, yes. Starting to write again would probably help with this, wouldn’t it?

Book Fair

I know I’ve been MIA for the last couple of months.

Continuing to report on my failure to make progress with MAGE STORM . . . wasn’t helping.

Mage Storm

I can’t imagine it was very interesting to read, either. Unfortunately, I don’t have any real progress to report–yet.

However, I can’t fail to let you know about an opportunity to find some new authors to read. Fantasy Sci-fi Readers Lounge Elf’s Shelf Book Fair.

Enjoy!

The last couple of weeks have been too busy with other things for me to get anywhere with MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

But, with most of that behind me–at least for the moment–it’s time to get back to building up momentum again.

And I am. I’ve started on the next chapter, writing a new beginning to that scene. And making a note for something I want to add to part of what I’d already written. (Not going back, though. First drafts go only forward. This is just a little detail–a paragraph or two–I can easily add in the revisions. So, just a couple of sentences to remind me when I–eventually–get to that.)

Forward, once again. Hopefully with better speed.

(Lack of) Progress

I knew last week was going to be a tough one. I just had too many other things to get through. Most of them time consuming. Some of them highly frustrating. All of them energy draining. As a result, I’ve made very little progress on MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

And this week is up in the air, since I don’t know my schedule for the next day until the previous evening. And I still haven’t had a chance to address that major stressor that came up a couple of weeks ago.

I haven’t even accomplished much over the weekend–even though it’s a three day weekend for me. Well, I have a few more hours to get something done. Maybe.

I failed to post on Wednesday, I know. Something came up that has had me too stressed out to write this week. I think I’ve formulated a plan, now, and maybe I’ll be able to get back to writing. Generally, once I have a plan and can get started on it, I can relax. And start writing again.

Meantime, I’ve been thinking about genre, some. Well, several things kind of came together to make me realize something. It has to do, among other things, with what genre to put MAGE STORM into.

Mage Storm

I’ve always framed MAGE STORM, to myself, as an epic fantasy, because it does have an epic problem, epic stakes. But . . . in other ways it doesn’t fit the typical epic fantasy mold.

The more I think about it, I’m not sure that’s how readers will see it. It seems to me, that readers of epic fantasy have come to expect the great climax that saves the world and then everyone can go home and get on with their lives. After all, that’s the model Tolkien set up with THE LORD OF THE RINGS, arguably the archetype of epic fantasy.

But . . . well, here’s how I see it. Tolkien fought in World War I. That’s how he saw war. The men–it is all males in LotR–put their lives on hold, go off and save the world, or their corner of it, and then go back home. Only, well, in my lifetime, that hasn’t been how war–or military conflicts, since we haven’t had a declared war–works. It goes on and on, sometimes into the next generation. And, sometimes, no one wins; they just agree to stop fighting. And, at the same time, many of the other kinds of problems we try to tackle are not the kind that can be solved in one blow.

It’s entirely natural and right that authors today should write stories that reflect our reality–even into fantasy realms we make up out of whole cloth. It’s part of what speculative fiction does–reframe realities in a different, more distant setting so, sometimes, we can take a clearer look at the issues. See the forest without being blinded by the trees.

But, there’s still that expectation of what epic fantasy will be like. And MAGE STORM isn’t going to fit that mold. There isn’t going to be one great climax where everything is solved. More like incremental steps and strategies for improvement.

So . . . I’m still left with the question. When I finally finish MAGE STORM and prepare to publish it, what genre do I call it? It’s certainly not sword and sorcery (no swords at all, for one thing). What kind of a bird is it?

 

Bad Week

Of course this week we had hot, humid weather. In previous years, school would not have started until the Thursday of last week (Thursday after Labor Day), but, in their “wisdom”, they moved the start of school up ten days–just in time to hit what is usually the most humid part of the year, here. Naturally without making any adjustments to make that easier to deal with.

So, basically, there wasn’t enough left of me to do any writing during the week. It is cooling off–and much less humid–now. Hopefully this weather will hold for a little while.

I have gotten some writing/revising done on MAGE STORM this weekend, at least.

Mage Storm

And hope to get more done during the week, because the week after that will be busy with other things and the one after that I may be on jury duty.

Whew!

I know I didn’t post at all last week. All I can say is that the first week back at school kicked my . . . . Well, you know.

However, I did still make some progress on the rewrite of MAGE STORM.

Mage Storm

I even finished another chapter. So it wasn’t a total waste. And what little energy I had to spare was better used for that, so I don’t lose momentum entirely. I even finished another chapter.

Here’s hoping next week will be a bit easier. At the very least, it’ll be a day shorter.