Great | Stink | Confused

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.

CR Hodges

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3 Responses to Great | Stink | Confused

  1. SandySays1 says:

    It can be done. From C&C “Endeavor to percieviere.” Remember if you aspire to be come an “A” list novelist its 1100 times harder than making an NFL roster based on slots available vs numbers competing for them. Buckle down for the long haul and DON’T RUSH YOUR WORK.

  2. crhodges says:

    What a great stat, Sandy. Not exactly sure if it’s encouraging, but that is the theme du jour.

  3. I am not sure if there is anything to be disheartened about reading works of a good writer. Even a “great” writer is sure to have read works of “greater” writers. … just like those climbing the Everest are bound to have come across others who have also climbed K2 etc etc

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