My writing is really starting to take off. Four short stories published; two accepted for publication in the fall of 2012. My mythica novel in progress, Ragnarök Willie, is progressing and even got some enthusiastic reviews with my tough-to-please critique group. I’m great. |
I’ve got 90 rejections now for my short stories; I’ll almost certainly hit 100 this fall. My first novel, Gho, is in a shoebox. My plots are overly convoluted; my stories, according the the editors who keep rejecting me “are not compelling.” I stink. |
Then I read a Jim Butcher novel and got really confused.
For writers there is a line so thin it would make a nano-biologist lust that separates inspiration from depression; optimism from pessimism; half full from full of s**t. Some days I think I’m breaking out | other days I’m inspired | on others I calculate that at the pace I’m on I’ll figure this out the year I turn 187. Jim Butcher’s urban fantasy novel, White Night, didn’t help. At all.
Until a few months ago I had not even heard of Mr. Butcher, despite the fact that his The Dresden Files series is apparently a long running best-selling series. I need to get out more. A member of one of my critique group tipped me off–apparently he wrote a valkyrie into one of his stories, which piqued my interest, as valkyries appear in many of my stories and all 13 of them are featured in Ragnarök Willie. So I grabbed one of the score of books in the series–White Night, the earliest one I could find on the shelves of my local library–and read it. Maybe it would be great; maybe it would stink. That’s what’s nice about libraries.
The novel was great. It did not stink. And that’s a problem. Because instead of enjoying the yarn, I was constantly looking for flaws in his writing. And the further I got the more frantic I became, because, besides being a terrific read, it was really, really well written. As in–and this is the problem–better than I can write. Of course Peyton Manning can throw a football better than I can (heck, so can Tim Tebow) but then again I don’t aspire to be a professional quarterback. I do aspire to be a professional writer, or at least more professional than I am (short stories pay, but not much).
And the answer? There isn’t one. Yup, I have work to do. Yup, I need to take some notes on Mr. Butchers work and see how I can apply that to my writing. YupI need to write more. YupI need to keep my day job. And yes I need to keep on writing.
PS–Yes, White Night is a great read. So much so that I more or less am headed down the I need to read all the books in the series path. Which, given the 50 unread books on my shelf, is a whole ‘nother issue.