I had a different topic to talk about today, but that can wait. I have important stuff to tell you guys. In a nutshell:
I’ve decided to postpone releasing Monster Inside Me for at least a year. Maybe longer.
This has nothing to do with my personal life. Everything on that front is good. This has to do with me and my skill level as an author.
Up until last year, all my knowledge of writing came from what I read (fiction and non-fiction craft stuff) and from what I’ve naturally absorbed about story through other mediums like movies. Besides MIM, I’ve written a draft for another novel and started a some of others that remain unfinished. I’ve learned lots of other things, but it’s not all coming together quite right. Basically, “I’m not cookies.” I’m still mushy dough. If I published MIM the way it is now, it wouldn’t be bad, but would probably peak at good.
When you’re passionate about something, you want the finished product to be awesome and life changing for all who experience it. I’m passionate about storytelling and the way I’ve chosen to tell those stories are through books. I’m not trying to write a good book. I’m trying to write a book that gives readers the same feeling they got when they read Harry Potter. I’d like to be memorable and talked about years later like The Empire Strikes Back.
I know success like this is rare. I picked these examples on purpose because regardless of the odds, stories like those are the bar. And you better believe I aim to get as close to that bar as I can. Right now, I’m far, far away from that goal.
Last week I sent them a newly written first chapter. I knew it wasn’t perfect, but the plan was to use their feedback to fix it up and then make revising the rest of the book easier. Boy, did that not work out at all how I thought! If I didn’t have a thick skin for criticism, all I’d have read from their nice and constructive feedback would’ve been, “This sucks and come to think of it, you do too.” What they really said was, “You’ve got something here with potential, but you’re not ready to deliver it.”
I have a lot of respect for these ladies. Probably more than they realize and it’s because they’ve done what I want to do. They wrote the awesome book, built the following and now have agents. Even if this isn’t your ultimate career path, the point is, they have options. It’s no small feat to get to their level. It took much work and determination to get there and it’s where I want to be. Well, I’m in luck, because they want to help.
My assignment, which I HAVE to accept, (Seriously, Kait said there’d be pain if I didn’t) is to write more and read more.
On the reading front, I’m going to focus more on the genre I want to be in. Fantasy. I tend to lean towards modern fantasy, like urban, but I don’t want be exclusively there.
As for writing, I’m going to pull out something I wrote years ago from the vaults of Mocete Studios. This wasn’t the original plan, but after a chat with Susan, I sent her the first chapter. I just wanted an overall opinion to compare with MIM. I was surprised when she said this new chapter was better than the MIM one, but after reading her notes, the light bulb went off.
The old story, I wrote whatever felt right according to the loose outline I had. I’m not saying I’m an intuitive genius or anything, but I’m betting more of the things I’m naturally good at are in the old story. MIM was in part a challenge to myself to write a story unlike the way I was used to. I think in some ways, it was forced. So, rather than beat that to death, I’ll go back to a story that plays to my strengths. And when I return to MIM, when I’m ready, I’ll be able to make it the book it should be.
So that’s where we’re are at Mocete Studios. Never could’ve predicted it, but I quite excited for the direction I’m going. Now I know how the Cylons felt. Plans are AWESOME.
The online writing community seems to move at ludicrous speed and it’s easy to get caught up in the rush. A lot of friends I’ve made last year are gearing up to put out their books and here am not even close. I’ll be honest, I’m incredibly happy for them, but at the same time feel like a total loser. And if you’re feeling that way too, it’s okay you because the truth is, you’re no more loser than I am. The only way you’ll truly lose if if you give up.
You see, readers are out there waiting for something awesome to read. And even when the next big thing isn’t so big anymore, you can count on awesome to still be going strong. It might be upsetting to take a few steps back, but you have to always keep in mind what you’re working towards. You keep that in mind and what you can do to get there. Figure out your strengths and use them to beat your weaknesses into submission. And most important of all:
Be honest with yourself.
Because if you’re not cookies when you come out of the oven, you won’t taste right.