Cup of Dcaf: Writing and Fear

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I will admit, I’ve never really understood the sentiment that so many writers express: namely, fear about their work. I know many fellow aspiring writers who have said they’re uncomfortable, at best, and outright scared, at worst, about sharing their work with a wider audience. I co-admin a writing group on Facebook with over 100 members, and many of them don’t post their own work; lots more only do so after much encouragement from the rest of the community.

The fact that this website exists, and the volume of work available for all of you to read should tell you that I’m not shy about sharing.

After all, I’m in this racket because I have stories that, at some level, moved me. I write them because I hope that they can move others, as well. I talked about why I write last month, and I think that post stands pretty well on its own. I don’t need to go into my reasons for sharing this stuff here, and I don’t need to go into further detail on why I want to be published. No, this post is about the first time I’ve actually felt scared when sharing my work.

About a week ago, I got a response from a query letter I sent to an agency in New York. A big agency. One that I’d written off months ago as a rejection. Instead, much to my surprise and immediate delight, they want the first 50 pages of All Flames Cast.

Let me tell you, clicking the send button on my response was the scariest thing I’ve done as a writer. This is a major step (even if the likely outcome occurs and they end up rejecting it) toward my dream of getting Chronicle of the Sons published. It’s exciting, and it’s terrifying.

What if it sucks?

What if I just wrote a great query letter, and people who are in, people who are pros at this, come back and say that it’s not salable?

What if it’s bad, and my relative happiness with the story is complete naivete and blinded optimism?

I’m pretty sure my stomach will be curdling nonstop until I get a reply (and who knows when that will be?).

Checking in: London Edition

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Phew. I survived. As I write this, I’m sitting in a hotel room in London, having just worked communications and speaker support for the big HPE Discover event this week. Today is Day 9 of the trip, and the event ended yesterday…which means I finally have some free time to get caught up on things.

First off, yeah, I know I haven’t posted at all, but quite honestly it’s been a bunch of 12-16 hour days for the past week, and there’s simply no energy left after that. I’ll be doing a more involved Book of the Week post for all of you, to go up tomorrow, as a way to make up for it.

Secondly, as noted above, I’m in London. It’s gorgeous here, and the entire time I’ve been itching to get writing. Open on my screen right now is Scrivener, with a freshly-minted file titled Of Genesis. This thing is in motion. Outlining is underway, checkpoints are being set, and I’ll probably start some preliminary work on the prologue tomorrow. I’m positively giddy at the idea.

Which brings me to tomorrow. I’ll be on a train through the British countryside, heading up to Glasgow to meet a friend (a fellow writer and Wheel of Time fan). Because of that, I doubt I’ll have much time for posting until I’m back in the States next week. The Book of the Week will go up, somehow, even if I have to use Starbucks free wifi or something, but that’s going to be the only post here for a while.

Thanks for bearing with me.

Writing Update: When Things Demand Attention

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So it’s been barely a month since my last State of Writing update, where I talked about my plans for the coming year and the beginning of work on Magisterium. I was very excited (still am) to get started on that book, since it was one of my favorite ideas.

However, it’s been quickly dawning on me that Magisterium needs to take a back seat for now. I did a bunch of worldbuilding this fall, and started writing the first draft. As of right now, Magisterium sits at just over 6000 words—and the spark just isn’t there. I’m going to be revisiting this book in the future, but it’s clear that I need to do some more work on this outline and get things together better.

Where that spark is is back with Chronicle of the Sons. I’m underway on revisions for All Flames Cast, which remains top priority, but my thoughts have been increasingly bent toward the sequels. It has become obvious to me that I need to go with what feels right, and at this time that means Book 2, Of Genesis. Even just considering writing this book has me excited, which is how it should be. I just can’t get away from these characters and this world. The tale must go on.

Cup of Dcaf: Why I Write

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With November being National Novel Writing Month, I’ve seen a proliferation of posts about writing habits, motivations, help and tips, and, most of all, identity as a writer. NaNo is a big deal in the writing world, especially the amateur section of it (let’s be honest here: the pros were already writing during November). NaNo is the time for people who “always wanted to write a book” to find the motivation and acceptance in the community and sit down at a keyboard or put pen to paper. There’s a general air of beginnings with NaNoWriMo.

For me, though, NaNo is something I’ve struggled with. It feels very much like it’s targeting a different demographic of writer than I fall into. NaNo, for all of its freedoms and encouragement and message, feels very restricting to me. I plan things out way in advance, and even when I don’t or can’t stick to those ambitions, I still have an order of things. NaNo seems like a wrench in the gears when it comes to that.

Because of all this, I’ve been giving a fair amount of thought to my situation and identity as a writer. Continue reading

Cup of Dcaf: So You Want to Write a Book?

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I want to start off with some encouragement here. You want to write a book? AWESOME. You can do it. Sit down with your pen or your keyboard and write it. If you want to write a book, it’s probably because you have a cool idea that you like. Write about that cool idea.

But here’s the thing. You have to understand what writing a book actually is. And what it actually is, is hard work. Continue reading