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Coming to terms

July 1, 2009

I just read a Clarion Update from Rochita and it helped me understand that I may not have been ready for Clarion West.

I don’t doubt that my writing is up to snuff for the workshop (I wouldn’t have been waitlisted if it weren’t).  What I may lack is a certain level of self-awareness.  What kind of fiction do I do best?  What do I enjoy writing about most?  What is it I bring to stories that no one else can?  I suspect that the workshop is supposed to help me find those answers, but it’s been a while since I even asked those questions.

The questions I’ve been asking recently have been “How can I make this story better?” or “How can I turn that into a story?” or even “Why can’t I finish this !@#$**! story?”  The answer to some of those questions may be to abandon them and try something else, something I need to write rather than want to write.  What stories are really mine to tell?  Ideas are cheap.  Any idiot can come up with an idea for a story.  I need to do a better job of finding the right idea for me.

I think that is what I’m supposed to be working on right now.  For instance, I think my military clone novel (Honor by Proxy) is a great idea and may be my best chance at selling a novel.  However, I am far from a military expert.  That doesn’t mean I can’t write the story, but it may mean I need a new direction.  While my YA space novel (untitled) will undoubtedly draw on my more immediate expertise as a close observer of children (teacher).  I don’t yet have my characters polished for that one, so it keeps skidding to a halt every time I try to work on it.

Am I well-suited for YA writing?  I don’t know.  I’ve sold two stories to youth-themed publications (“Faerie Belches” and “Brother Goo”).  Time will tell.

I need to reorganize my projects, set some deadlines, and bring order to my chaos.  (It can still be chaos, just scheduled and catalogued chaos.)  I have eight months (+/-) to raise my game and become part of the class of 2010.  Right now “Poison Inside the Walls” seems my strongest submission candidate (and likely my next WotF entry), though “Secondhand Rush” (my current WotF entry) seems a good second.  I might be able to use both.  But ideally I’ll create something between now and then that eclipses both.

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 1, 2009 2:59 pm

    I do wish you could have come to CW at the same time as I did. I think we would have had glorious talks about fiction and why certain things work and don’t work. If it’s any help, from what I heard they had so many excellent submissions that it was really a tough choice to make. I think you should try again next year because I’m pretty sure you will be here and the world needs thoughtful writers like you. I’m glad the entry was of help to you. (and yes,I am rooting for you 🙂

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