Monday, November 21, 2011

Are you Ready?

I have long said that I should have started writing my fantasy series, the Aglaril Cycle, sooner.  That, because of the time it is taking to complete each novel, I should have started sooner so that I can be sure that I will get to my other stories and ideas.

But the fact is (and was until recently) I wasn't ready to do so.  The first draft of the material was completed in 1999.  But that draft wasn't very good.  But I didn't know it and I wasn't doing anything to improve it.  Life has a way of occupying your time if you don't guard against and so a number of years flew by without any action on my part.  Oh I thought about the characters and the story and made some changes they were cosmetic mostly.

Then I woke up (about two years ago) and really began to focus on the story and what I could do to get it published.  That required exploring every avenue I could think of.  Some were dead ends, like join a writer's group, and some proved more fruitful, like reading several books on writing.

But the point is I was ready to commit to do what I needed to do and I still make time for it.  I shifted priorities in my life too.  And all that was vital because the best idea in the world is wasted if the writer who has it isn't able to do it justice in their treatment of the material.

And now, after all that time, I feel ready.  Partly because I approach my work different than I did and partly because the fog about what to do and how to proceed is beginning to lift.  Book 3 is in development after years of delay.  Book 1 is complete.  Book 2 is in revision.  I can see and feel the progress and my own skill now and again.  I know when I've got a good scene and when something is missing.

So when you approach a new project you want to ask yourself are you ready to handle it.  Most writers develop internal instincts about what works and what doesn't and about their own skills and abilities.  So be honest with yourself and trust your instincts.  If you have to wait, then wait.  But if you think you are ready then go for it.  If the results don't work for you, put the story away for awhile and come back to it. But if the writing is good then keep going and see it through to the end.

Example:  After several attempts are writing short stories I've put them all aside because I'm not sure I'm ready to write them.  Short stories require a different set of skills than novels do because so one, the short story needs to be self-contained.  Many of my short stories feel like they are part of something larger (which they are) and that's no good.  I've got to remember on what important in these stories and focus on it.  I've got some ideas along those lines, but I'm not ready to revise the stories just yet.  I will be but first I've got novels to finish.

And that's the challenge of writing; handling all the ideas you get.  Sometimes it's like a flood.  I hope you are ready for it.

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