Problem

Trudging through the Sloughs of Despond

Phew! I have been waiting for this moment since Monday morning. Honestly, since Sunday evening. This week has been, quite simply, awful. Not for any horribly traumatic reason. No one has COVID, the kids are fine, my husband and I are still employed. God continues to bless us the same as He always has…and yet, my psyche screams: I DROWN IN MISERY.

See, I don’t actually dislike my job. Regardless of all the daily frustrations, I have no desire to seek a new position and start over someplace else. One of my closest friends is a colleague. I have a nice boss who allows me to work from home so that I can supervise my youngest child’s virtual schooling. I’m compensated fairly based on my labor. So many people are unemployed right now and are looking for work; I should be grateful that I even have a job.

So, what is my problem?

My problem: I would rather be writing…which does not help put food on the table or pay the mortgage.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Everyone’s struggling right now. Suck it up, buttercup, this is your life. Deal with it.

I could rant and rave about how the system is broken – that a household needs at least two incomes to stay afloat nowadays – but that doesn’t solve anything. We are accustomed to a lifestyle that includes certain luxuries that Americans are taught they are entitled to, so I cannot, in good conscience, cut our earnings in half. Enough said. I’m not asking for a handout.

Now that I’m beginning to climb out of the abyss I threw myself into earlier this week, I can reflect on things and try to come up with a better game plan. Any plan, really. Being on COVID time has really flushed my planning skills down the toilet. You’d think I’d have more time to write…but I don’t. By the way, it’s a total myth that all these COVID restrictions would open up time for people to “finally finish writing that novel.” Totally bogus idea. I have as much to do as I ever did, before COVID, and people who DO have time on their hands have lost their jobs and are, most likely, spending all that time trying to find another one.

There are plenty of authors who juggle a full-time job, a family, and their writing time without going completely neurotic, aren’t there? I’m sure they have GREAT advice on how to manage time more effectively. Hello? Anybody out there? Chime in any time now, really.

Sigh.

I know what I need to do, but I still feel discouraged.

Time to open up the Jesus Always devotion book my mother sent me a few years back. Guess what I found? No matter where you are and what you’re going through, God’s Word tells you exactly what you need to hear:

Will my novel ever be accepted for publishing? Only God knows. If so, when will I be successful enough as an author that I can quit my day job? Only God knows.

In the meantime, I should stop worrying about if and when I can finally put in my two-weeks’ notice. I should continue to do my best work, both on the job and in my word processor. I should pray for God to bless my efforts, and leave it all in His hands.

Progress on Wyldling Snare?

Okay, so this whole process is turning out to take longer than I hoped it would!

Yes, I suppose I can say that I completed the first draft by the end of last month. Woohoo! Yay me?

I thought that I would be done with the first round of edits/revision by the middle of February, and then I could ask the few folks who volunteered to read through it. You know, beta readers (just like Jim Butcher.) I figured, the way I was constantly revising my work almost as soon as I wrote it – which I do NOT recommend and counsel sternly against doing – that it should be “pretty okay,” as my eldest son would say.

Wrong!

Currently, we are a quarter of the way into the month and I have plowed through “editing” only eight out of twenty-three “chapters.” Things are…complicated. There were some areas where the narrative was inconsistent. That’s what happens when you revise at the same time that you are “creating,” people! You get this cool idea to include in the first chapter and then you forget to carry it through down the road. For example, you change one major detail about a character and suddenly the scenes you already wrote including him/her that take place a hundred pages later suddenly don’t work. Or you decide to cut out a bunch of exposition from chapter three (because you decide it’s boring) and realize that the actions that the characters take (or don’t take, in this case) in chapter seven no longer makes sense.

Now, I would never rank the complexity of my story on the same level as, say, Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time, but the Wyldling series is still a complicated enough story that I probably need a spreadsheet to keep track of character arcs and objects and whatnot. Unlike the late, great Robert Jordan -may he rest in peace (and thank you to Brandon Sanderson for finishing that wonderfully rich behemoth of a series!)- I decided to limit the point-of-view narrative in Wyldling Snare to three main characters (two Wyldling protagonists and a villain). That will change later on in the series, because (spoilers!) I will introduce more Wyldling characters as the story marches on. Eventually there will be more than three storylines. So maybe I end up emulating Mr. Robert Jordan, after all? I can’t remember how many storylines he wove into the fabric of his magnum opus, but it was definitely more than three! Probably more like twenty – some of which EVENTUALLY converge – and only three or four of the storylines were actually resolved. But don’t quote me on that; it’s been a while since I read The Wheel of Time. Like, years. Man, but that was a good, long series. All the books are still sitting on my shelf…

Hmmm.

But I digress! Which shouldn’t be possible in a blog, right? Most people would edit that stuff out, right? Not me! I am saving all of that editorial power for my book. This is all just rambling, now, so I should shut up and get back to work. Okay, self, back to the first order of business: the revision process!

Further bulletins as events warrant.

May the LORD bless your day, and my efforts.

Thanks for sticking with me so far! To reward you for your patience, here’s a cute picture of Graefin trying to snooze on top of bath towels in my bathroom.

Almost there…

…stay on target!
There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

Yes, I just paraphrased Star Wars: A New Hope. So sue me. I love that movie. It inspires me.

In any event, I think that I am finally getting somewhere with Wyldling Snare!

As I mentioned in a previous post, this novel is to be the first installment of a five or six book series – all of which will have “Wyldling” in the title. I had a large part of this series already written in a ponderous tome entitled The Grand Illusion, but I felt that I needed to rework that behemoth into a series of separate books. This is the twenty-first century, not the nineteenth century. No one wants to slog through my rendition of Tolstoy’s War and Peace (no, I haven’t actually read it – although I have read Anna Karenina.)

Right now, I am still in this writing/reworking phase. My goal is to have the first draft completed by the New Year – and I believe that this is an attainable goal. There, I defined my goal. I set a deadline. I even wrote it down and shared it with other people…in this blog. Hooray! I made a few baby steps toward accomplishing something! Even if it turns out to be utter malarkey!

If I had to quantify my progress, I would have to venture a guess. Three-quarters done? Perhaps even more, since much of the book is already written. Five out of roughly twenty-five chapters left to rework, and one earlier chapter that requires additional prose.

I suppose I have to ask the question: technically speaking, is this a first draft or a second draft that I am currently working on? Part of me responds “who cares?” but another part of me likes to be accurate and precise. I could call the manuscript a second draft in the sense that much of it was already written. However, it is a first draft in the sense that other eyes have not yet critiqued it.

Mea culpa! I am guilty of trying to edit and revise simultaneously as I craft the story -which is a big no-no for a writer who actually wants to finish a novel.

My advice: write everything down – without judgment! – and then go back to revise it. You are your own worst critic. Stop listening to that nasty, paranoid voice and just WRITE.

Even if it ends up sounding like utter malarkey.