So on Tuesday I talked about my plan for my short stories: when to push forward, and when to let them go. The old ones are getting let go. This was partially inspired by common sense and partially inspired by Carrie Vaughn’s post “On Being Prolific”. I promised that my novels were another post for another day, and it’s another day, so let’s do this post before I completely forget about it.
So, the plan for my novels? I’m not trunking anything. Every time I think I’ve moved beyond my thesis novel, the SF novel code named Telepathic Soulmates, I realize I’m still deeply invested in that world. Last year, I wrote a prequel, code name LB Prequel (fun fact, I still haven’t found a title for that sucker, yet), and it taught me so much about my world-building and things I want to fix and tweak in Telepathic Soulmates. This isn’t a novel I need trunk, at least not yet.
I still believe in the wisdom that Vaughn has to share. But when I read the Telepathic Soulmates draft, I don’t feel I’m beyond it. The world is so rich, and has so much potential, that it’s easy to get sucked right back into it all over again.
So I’m not trunking it. And I believe that with novels, unlike short stories, you need more distance from them in order to be effective in revising them. Since I’m not considered professional by any sense of the word, I may change my tune when my writing becomes a paying career, rather than an intense hobby. What I really need to learn is how to move on to a new project rather than taking a months-long writing vacation. I’ll still let the recently finished project sit, because my novels need that. It’s just that now, I intend to be working on something else, preferably something completely different.
Some breaks happen because they’re necessary, because real life gets in the way and trying to focus on anything creative is an exercise in futility. Other times, you just need a break from what you were writing, but that doesn’t mean you should stop writing. You should just write something different.
4 thoughts on “Letting Go: Continued”
You know, I’ve been struggling with the idea of “letting go” when it comes to my current trilogy of novels I’ve been working on. I haven’t received any really encouraging responses from agents/publishers for one thing. Also, having written almost two books (book 3 in the trilogy is currently with my first readers) since finishing book 1, I’m really able to see how I’ve grown as a writer. Sooner or later, I think I’m going to have to make the tricky decision of whether I should continue to sink time into submitting this book to different places, or should I move on to other projects. It’s a really hard decision, figuring out what to hold onto and what to let go.
If I may offer a piece of unsolicited advice, I’d say keep submitting, but start working on a brand-new project, unrelated. It can’t hurt, because all you’re doing from submission to submission is tweaking the cover letter, you know? Any feedback you get from agents/publishers will be useful for whatever new project you’re working on.
Unsolicited advice welcome in this area. I think I’ll keep on submitting it around for now, I just don’t know when to give up. 50 rejections? 100? Ugh.
Well, there’s always the stories of people saying they’re going to submit something just ONE MORE TIME after countless rejections, and then finally they get a buy. There is no set number. I think a lot of it depends on you: if you look back at these books in a year, do you still think they’re marketable despite rejections, or do you realize you’ve grown so much that these books don’t represent you or your craft anymore, and if it’s the latter, are these books you’ll want to revise and try again with or maybe self-publish or just trunk?
Have you ever considered something like the Odyssey Writers Workshop? It’s an AMAZING experience, and time getting critiqued by director Jeanne Cavelos is worth its weight in gold. If a six-week summer workshop isn’t the right fit for you (you’d have to apply for next year), then you may want to consider their online writing courses (I’ve not taken any of those yet). Here’s the website: http://www.sff.net/odyssey/
I bring this up because 1) I know writers who have been submitting their novels and while they’re at Odyssey, they get a yes and 2) the SF/F/H focus on these workshops is so freaking amazing: it’s a fantastic thing to be around a group of like-minded writers who can give very thorough feedback. It’s an application process too, so not just ANYONE can attend, so if you get in, you can rest assured that at least most of your classmates know what they’re doing.
I can’t recommend that workshop enough. It literally changed me and the way I approach fiction and the way I write.