Oh, it’s finally over! I verified my rough draft’s length and got the certificate and purple bar to show for it. I suppose I should be proud of what I’ve gotten done so far, but all I can think about is digging into the draft and revising it. I promised myself I’d give it time to cool down so I could go over it with a more analytical eye, though, so in the meantime (meaning the next month or so – I’d like to start on this early in the new year) I have other projects to focus on.
The Woman Without, last year’s NaNo project and my first attempt at a full-length novel, is still only halfway complete. I had a hard time staying focused with it, most likely because I was winging it plot-wise the whole time. This year I used ten “key scene” note cards for Teahouse and that ended up working out well. I’d like to go back and summarize my first story so far into single ideas for each chapter and give the story the note card treatment as well. Hopefully I’ll be able to salvage the novel that way.
A friend of mine is starting his own writing-related podcast this month, and for his debut episode he asked if he could read one of my short stories and then record a discussion between us to play afterwards. I’ve never been too fond of hearing my own voice (it’s a bit unusual, and certainly lower than most) but seeing as I’m a huge fan of podcasting in general I’d have to be somewhat crazy to pass up that kind of opportunity. Rather than giving him something unpublished that I’ve had on my hard drive for a while (most of my newer stuff has been sent out within the last few months) I think I’m going to write something especially for the show. The idea I have now is a hybrid of science fiction and horror, a style I’ve never successfully tackled before. We’ll see how it works out, I suppose. If I fail I have the entire month to come up with something new.
I have other things to keep me busy, as well. I recently rejoined the Critters online critique group after lapsing a few years ago. This time around I’m having a lot of fun reading other people’s stories, rather than finding them burdensome. I’m still having difficulties crafting critiques that feel satisfactory to me, but the more I write them the easier they are becoming. To be honest, one of the stories I read today makes me regretful I don’t own a publication that could buy it. It’s that good. I’m not sure when or if I’m going to submit my own material. I haven’t gotten past the “force your writing upon your loved ones” stage yet, though I’m seriously considering it. If I’m going to entertain thoughts of querying agents then I’m going to have to become a bit more realistic about opening myself up to criticism.
I’ve been thinking about starting another blog, as well, not for writing but for reviewing. This year I’ve so far read fifty-five books, and I’d like to read at least five more, if not ten. Many of these are books I read when I was younger (Poppy Z. Brite, L.J. Smith, Christopher Pike, etc) that I come back to out of a sense of fond remembrance or out of curiosity. Sometimes I want to see if the stories I enjoyed hold up to the test of time and changing tastes. Some do, some don’t. I think it might be fun to keep a permanent record of all of the books I read and how I feel about them when I’m finished with them. I know it would take some time to get caught up to where I am now (should I decide to review everything I’ve read so far, which I’m not sure I’ll do) but I think it could be fun.