Monday, June 21, 2010

I'm Back

Hello Reader!  Sorry I’ve been out for so long, Blogger and I were having a tussle and it took me a while longer than I thought it would to win.  Anyways, I should update everyone on the status of my contest participation.  The Shirley Collier Prize people have not contacted me, and June 4th was the day to do so.  I’m hoping against hope that this lack of response is due to the fact that I am not a Humanities major, which was one of the requirements to participate.

Or it could be that my manuscript wasn’t up to par, which it wasn’t.  One hour before the deadline I found that a portion of a chapter had actually been spliced to another chapter when I was still editing the manuscript.  I was shocked and scared out of my mind.  Without that portion, the chapter was short and meaningless.  So instead of doing my best to fill in something within the next hour, I panicked, deleted the paragraph I had written while editing, and submitted.

Plus, I’ve found a glaring inequity in my story overall.  The Proxy Wars: Dramatis Personae is one of four books in a volume.  But it’s not being released at the same time as the other books.  Thus, it is absolutely imperative that the novel stands on its own as a story with a singular theme and plot.  Dramatis Personae does not.  It has a theme, definitely.  But its plot does not support the theme, because there isn’t a standalone conflict.  Dramatis Personae serves as the introduction to every character I will use in the first volume of the story.  And it only does that. 

For there to be a plot, the novel requires a problem introduced near the beginning of the story.  And by the end of the novel, this problem needs to be solved.  I have allowed my characters to run around and solve every problem presented to them “off-stage”.  I only depict the consequences of their actions, which leaves me a few meager settings to set my action, long conversations, and brutal scenes of exposition.  By brutal, I mean infodump. 

While this is all fine to have, without action happening in between I am left with a tome of philosophy rather than an engaging page-turner.  At least, that’s what I feel.  To alleviate this problem, I’m going back to Book 1: Dramatis Personae and revamping every chapter one by one.  It’s going to take longer than I want, but I need to do this.  I understand that as an author, I will never truly be satisfied with my work.  I understand that this perfectionism could work against me.  But if I can achieve this feat within the year, I promise I will not touch the novel until I have found an agent.  The fact that I have spent six years on this novel without making any inroads with the industry both confuses and saddens me.  Of course, I will only enter the business of publishing until my manuscript is absolutely ready.  But to get it that ready, I have to give my theme a plot. 

Onto other news, I’ve begun ideas for short stories that I want to submit to various contests and literary magazines.  Yes, they will stick to the same genre – science fiction – but I am not going to shoot for the epic space opera that I want The Proxy Wars to be.  I’m not going to write about what my ideas are, mainly because they’re just ideas.  At any point in time they could change and morph into something else.  But I'm hoping I'll be able to finish them before the summer and have them published in a magazine, or submitted to a contest.  Bakhayr, we'll see.  Until next time then.


  1. Your book doesn't have a plot? O_O Well, uhm, if you need help, you know where to find me, but are you sure you aren't just being hard on yourself? It would be hard to write that much on nothing, I would think. That being said, perfectionism is a good trait to have in the writing world, since we don't need any more Twilight quality books out there. Take all the time that you need; that serves as insurance that you have the best possible book, conveying your story in the best possible way. And you can finish it in a year no problem. :)

  2. You're probably right, it has much more to do with the fact that I'm a perfectionist than with reality. I guess what I should have written was that the plot I've constructed in the novel doesn't have a conclusion IN the novel. It's conclusion occurs...three novels later? Basically, this one book is too integrated a part of the overall volume. It needs to stand alone, and it doesn't right now :/

  3. Italy1:01 AM

    Well, does it? Lots of series have running plot lines...they don't necessarily have to tie up nicely, especially early in the series (though if you're going to do that, I would try to publish in quick succession, if not the whole thing at one time because I HATE it when an author dies/loses interest/etc in the middle of a series and it never gets finished).

    And how many people have you had read the entire manuscript? What kind of plot-related input have they had?

    But aside from that, I believe you. You know your story better than anyone, and if you think it needs to be more stand alone, I would bet good money (is there such a thing as bad money? I guess blood money could be considered bad...) that that's what it needs. So that basically just means you have to...rethink what needs to happen in each book? Is it possible within your plot to tie up a plot that you need three books to tell? Ha, you have some fun times ahead of you. :)