The fragility of time and promises

I finished the third draft of my novel on August 11th, 2012. It was about 93k words long.

The first draft, finished at the end of NaNoWriMo 2008 was, I think, 62k, and bore very little resemblance to the plot I have now. There is a girl who finds herself in a foreign universe, but that is really about it. It’s pretty bad. Someday I’ll dig it up out of my Google Drive and wince my way through it to mine it for the little flecks of gold scattered throughout it, but not today. I am not quite that brave yet.

The second draft was finished around August 31st, 2011. It had a bit more in common with this draft, perhaps as much similarity in DNA as that between a chimp and a human and yet as different in phenotype as the same.

It’s still a bit painful to re-read and realize how much better my writing could get — but the massive difference between the first chapter, started over a year ago, and the last, which was written about a month ago, gives me hope. It gives me more hope that I do not re-read it and have a burning desire to run it through the shredder. I actually feel that it is editable. That I can actually whittle it into something that is worthy of publication.

It is done and I feel somewhat adrift while waiting for feedback to come in. I thought about it, and perhaps I should not have been so giddy as to send out so many copies of what is essentially a first draft, a splat draft, possibly using up whatever goodwill and faith my readers might have had in me. But it is done and I am awash in anticipation.

Something recently surfaced, something that prompted the remembrance of the fact that despite Twitter, blogs, chat rooms, all these many things that keep us connected — it is all a beautiful, beautiful illusion. Writing is a solitary craft. It is also, even when one is loved, a very personal and therefore solitary path. Decisions, your own. The writing, only your own. The ideas, the way you spin them, weave them, cut the cloth and sew it, then embroider it — still your own. Knowing that, it is too easy to take offense when someone doesn’t love what you’ve wrought. It is my lesson to learn how to get past that and keep on.

Whether readers love you or neglect you — all a matter of taste, of kismet, of that ineffable spark of attraction that cannot be pinned down or put to words. Even if they love one book, or even one of your series, that is no guarantee that they will love whatever you put out next. Oftentimes they will not even be able to tell you why they lost interest, why that particular book or series didn’t speak to them.

So I am trying to set up a crit/goals group. Perhaps we, as a group, can help each other accomplish goals, forge past disappointment and negativity, and keep each other accountable to our dreams. I’m hoping to have a dedicated circle of people I can bounce ideas off of, brainstorm with, and have a good beta/crit relationship going with.

Here’s hoping we’ll all find what we need in each other.

 

 

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