I actually wrote about 700 words over the weekend, too, but didn't have time to make a blog post. So, this means I'm finally done with chapter 5--revising aside--and can move on to chapter 6. I'm really pleased right now for a number of reasons. First, tonight's total is the most I have written since starting ALDEN RIDGE. This is getting back into the sort of volume I produced when things were really going well with THE GUARDIAN. Volume isn't everything, of course, but this is actually quality work that flowed reasonably smoothly out of my head and onto the screen. Writing has been too much like pulling teeth recently, and this was therefore a very welcome change.
That's the second reason I'm so pleased at this point: the various mental blockages that I've been facing seem to have finally been overcome. As much as I've tried not to let my bad experiences with trying to find an agent for THE GUARDIAN affect me negatively, they definitely have. The whole experience has also been hugely positive, because I've really learned a lot from it and taken my craft up several notches--but at the same time all the rejections pretty much sapped my confidence completely away. Even the numerous positive reactions I have gotten to THE GUARDIAN didn't help all that much in the end. The bad stuff is easier to believe.
But, the good news is that my confidence seems to have returned. This is thanks largely to Orson Scott Card and Anne Mini. I've been reading through Anne's category of Manuscript Megaproblems, and that has been hugely informative as well as ultimately cathartic. It's a relief to see that I don't do so many of the things that she points out, and her way of presenting the issues relating to pacing gave me one of those Aha! moments in which I finally realized how pacing is supposed to work these days. That moment came on Saturday, and I've been working on adjusting my style to that realization ever since. Tonight seems to indicate that this new way of thinking about my writing is working (I'll explain these thoughts further in a later post).
I mentioned Orson Scott Card as being a huge help as well, because I've been going back and reading ENDER'S GAME, SPEAKER FOR THE DEAD, XENOCIDE, and CHILDREN OF THE MIND over the last few weeks. ENDER'S GAME is my favorite book ever, and it is brilliantly paced--this is something like the eighth time I've read that book, and another close study of it was very helpful in getting me to realize what I should be doing with my own writing. SPEAKER is slightly slower paced, but still so chock full of great plotting and ideas that nobody cares. A close study of that was also very informative, since it allowed me to see OSC's strengths in a book with a much different structure than the first of the Ender series. XENOCIDE is terribly slow, and yet I find the ideas and events of that book to be extremely significant to myself. It's a wonderful book, a triumph in many ways, but not one that most people would re-read as often as ENDER'S GAME or SPEAKER. It is also the sort of book that could never be someone's debut, and it was useful to analyze it to see where the pacing broke down (in the sense of what a modern debut book would have to be, anyway).
All this reading and close study of Orson Scott Card's mastery of the craft, plus mulling over Anne Mini's incredibly insightful blog posts, got me back on track after nothing else has been able to. This weekend I also re-read my entire ms so far with an eye towards what I have learned, and I made a few more edits throughout. At this point, I'm extremely happy with what I have so far on this book. Whether or not it lands me representation and ultimately publication (I of course hope it will), it's making some pretty major steps in the right direction.
12,342 / 95,000 (13.0%)