It's been another week of tweaks and edits here in my happy but chaotic home. With yet another round of edits nearly completed on the ever-present novel, I also took great satisfaction in putting the final finishing touches (final finishing? Is that redundant?) on three short stories and the novella, Putting Down Roots. Those four pieces are now off the monumental "to-do" pile, a massive scrap yard of unfinished creations that constantly begs for my immediate attention.
At the beginning of this year I made a conscious decision to work my way through some of the cool story ideas I'd scribbled down but never finished, and actually finish some of them. As many as I could manage to get done, I would. It's been kind of fun to look through my notes and remember the thought processes that led me to think "hey, what if..." and write it down for future use. Some may never see the light of day, but thanks to some gentle prodding by my ruthless editor, most of them stand a much better chance of coming to fruition.
I realized recently that it's been a while since anything new has appeared in print anywhere. This, despite the fact that I'm in the middle of perhaps the most creative phase of my life. That's partly because, frankly, I haven't really tried to sell much of anything lately - four submissions this year, to be precise. And it's also partly because instead of churning out a bunch of short works, I've been working on one long piece. But it's also because, truthfully, I've neglected that last coat of polish on an awful lot of my work, and my focus lately has been on cleaning up the old mess before starting a new one.
A rule of thumb I use on submitted works is that, if you send something out more than a few times and nobody shows enough interest to bite, then maybe that piece isn't good enough in its current state. Perhaps it needs a little more work before it's really ready for public consumption. So with those shorts and the novella out of the way, and the next round of fixes for the current novel not quite ready to go, I started on a new/old project and began still more editing, this time on my first novel, The Shadow Realm. That one, some may recall, was started in 2015 and took until nearly mid 2016 before it was written and edited to my satisfaction. Several submissions and rejections later I decided to let my ruthless editor take a stab at it. Her discerning eye caught several things mine did not, and so I am in the process of polishing that novel once again.
I say immodestly that my work is much stronger and tighter than ever before, and even more so with another pair of critical eyes on everything I write. Ultimately the market will be the judge of that, of course, but I can say that when I look back over some of the stories I've written in the past, both published and "slush pile", I see many ways in which my newer stuff is far better. I'm working on turning these updates into a more regular habit, so if that sticks I'll keep everyone in the loop as things keep rolling along!
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