So, it's that time of year when people pause to reflect and make resolutions. I usually don't make any resolutions, and I don't plan to make any this year. I did want to take a moment to reflect on my writing career, so here goes.
2012 was a productive year for me. Blue Moon released in January, and I was stunned and humbled at the amount of "rave" reviews the novella received. In June The King's Heart was released, and I'll admit it did not receive the amount of attention I'd anticipated. At the same time my first book The King's Tale was released as a second edition. Toward the end of the year I received a contract to publish Red Sunset, sequel for Blue Moon. In the end, it was a satisfying year for me as a writer.
What follows are some specific thoughts I've had about what's on the horizon for me as a writer.
I would be lying if I said I never had thoughts of giving up. I think everyone does. It's not rejection that makes me want to give up, rejection makes me work harder. Both Promises and Lies and Blue Moon were rejected, Promises and Lies was rejected more than once. Two things make me want to give up, the editing process and feeling under appreciated. Granted, both of these things fall under the "writer's ego" category, but be that as it may I did have thoughts of throwing in the towel this year.
I'll preface this bit by saying that I realize the editing process is designed to make one a better writer. It does make me a better writer, and it does make me examine new work with a keener eye.
When I went through the editing process with The King's Tale it was a breeze! I got on my own "high horse" and said, "I knew I was a good writer!" Things were a little trickier when I went through the process with Promises and Lies, but I will admit I didn't spend as much time crafting that book as I did with The King's Tale. It was after that when the whole editing thing started making me feel like I wanted to give up.
I know editors are just doing their job, and as time went on I realized they were being tough for a reason. I guess the issue is that sometimes a little grease for the wheels goes a long way. Blue Moon was relatively easy to deal with, I believe there was a little honey spread over the negative remarks.
But, it was the edit of The King's Heart, and re-edit of The King's Tale that made me want to give up. Quite honestly, there was very little in the way of positive comments offered during the editing of The King's Heart, and any that were seemed of the back-handed variety. It was an uphill battle for sure. For months after the edits were completed I couldn't bring myself to work on Red Sunset, why bother if the whole thing was going to be hacked apart?
In the end I sucked it up, and pressed on. I fully expect to go through another painful editing process with this novella, but I'll grow some balls and deal with it I reckon. And I've decided that editing will not be the death of me, and I won't give up for that reason.
Feeling under appreciated is a whole other ball of wax. Due to my highly sensitive nature, this is just par for the course. I know that the main reason I feel this way is because I allow myself to feel this way. Believe me, I've had hundreds of inner conversations with myself over it, and I've finally determined to not let it get me down. At least until the next time it does, but as always, I suffer in silence.
Now that I'm at the end of this entry, I'll mention one last thing specifically about The King's Heart.
The King's Heart was meant to be a bridge book between The King's Tale and the followup I'd always intended, The King's Son. I'll admit that the main reason I wrote it was a selfish one: I wanted more of the relationship between Dafydd and Christopher, and The King's Son was meant to focus on Anwyll and the lover I intend to create for him, Cian.
Having said that though, the reason The King's Heart was necessary was to address the change in Dafydd. Or perhaps not a change as much as a reversion as Dafydd ended up more like he was before he met Christopher and was sucked up into his world.
The primary bone of contention with some readers of The King's Tale was the inclusion of the character Marged. Bear in mind, my grand scheme once the story started to unfold was Christopher needed a son if the story were to continue, and being it was medieval times he needed to lie with a woman in order to produce a child. Early on in the book it's suggested that Christopher is bi-sexual. I understand that many people had issues with Christopher having a loving relationship with Marged, and perhaps they felt he was cheating on Dafydd. My only defense for that, feeble as it might sound, is that it was a different time, and I don't think you can assign modern beliefs to medieval characters. Yes, perhaps I should have had Christopher sleep with Marged "off screen"...but I still maintain I was attempting to build his character. For me personally, one of the key scenes is the night Christopher first sleeps with Marged. He leaves her alone in his bed and goes to Dafydd. After Marged's admission that her introduction to love-making (prior to Christopher) was a painful one, Christopher is troubled. When he tells Dafydd that he feels safe inside him, that is a huge admission for a king to make. *That* is the reason why I had him sleep with her "on screen." Perhaps the second time wasn't necessary, but I kept the scenes short and didn't realize how much it would bother some people.
This brings me to the thing that festers in my soul about The King's Heart. Marged is again a character, but her role is simply Anwyll's mother, and Patrick's wife. She has conversations with both Dafydd and Christopher, but of course there's no reason for her to share Christopher's bed again. She doesn't. It broke my heart to see people making those accusations, so I had to don my writer's armor and cease to search those discussions out.
In conclusion...my writer's goals for 2013 are these:
First, don't lose hope during the editing of Red Sunset.
Second, lose myself in writing The King's Son.
If anything else comes my way, I'll embrace it wholeheartedly!