Yes, it's happened. I knew it would; it always does. I've hit the dreaded Wall O' Writing. This is a phenomenon which occurs partway through any long piece of writing, or any long creative work, in which you get to a stopping point, you stop to catch your breath, and you are promptly swarmed by doubts and fears and gremlins.
In this case, it's a little more acute because I recently entered the Shelf Unbound Writing Competition (look it up, it's pretty awesome) and now get to bite my nails for the next five weeks, until November 2. If A Widow in Waiting should win, or even place in the top five, not only is that free publicity but it's a huge ego-boost for me.
It may seem odd to you, oh readers, that I remind you so very constantly that authors need reviews. I'm sure it looks like I have an ego the size of Cleveland, and want you to add a few more suburbs for me. But really, my ego, at this point in time, is funneled almost entirely into my fictional worlds. My writing, in many ways, is me.
What does this mean in terms of what you can or should do, if you want more of a particular universe, or just want to make the author feel good and thereby increase the general output? Well, anyone who's been around for a while knows that my response to overly fulsome praise tends to be something like *dive under desk*.
Am I saying you shouldn't praise me? By no means. I'm asking you to... remember I am mortal, I guess. I love to hear what I've done well, but I do also need to hear what I've done badly (though politely, please... I'm far more likely to pay attention if you're not screaming abuse at me or talking down to me like I'm a boisterous five-year-old).
Another helpful point is specificity. Point out a moment that you really enjoyed, one that made you laugh, or cry, or stare at the screen going "What... what... WHAT?!" (The flip side of this is taking up an entire paragraph to yell at me for something I didn't do. Congratulations, you've proved why I shouldn't listen to you!)
*looks back up page* Wow, when did this turn into a treatise on responses to writing? It's supposed to be Thunder Thursday... well, I guess it does fit, because writing Playing with Fire, as much as it is like a fanfic in some ways, doesn't have that immediacy of response. Even once it's published, reviews can be thin on the ground.
However... I need betas, people. Everybody who beta'd for Widow -- wanna come back? And new faces are always welcome! The only requirements are a good knowledge of English grammar, a basic grounding in the time period (can be learned "on the job"), and brisk turnaround time (three days or less if possible, please).
For those of you who may not fit those categories, who speak English as a second or third language and aren't sure of your grammar, who enjoy reading about the period I'm depicting but wouldn't feel comfortable poking at it, or who don't have the time to fully read and critique -- comments on the snippets I post are always welcome!
So, before I attempt to climb over this wall, or find a door, I shall post the fourth and final snippet of this Personal Novel Writing Month (the wordcount page will be updated when there are updates available) and consider whether I should keep doing so into October. Thoughts? Do you like the teasers, or should I save it for publication?
Also, because somebody asked -- in my genres, 80-100K are the lowest counts that the publishers I researched consider a novel. Though I was scolded for writing a 116K "young adult" novel (Homecoming), as the reviewer thought that genre should run only 70-80K and claimed I'd padded it shamelessly. And here I thought it was a bit short!
For comparison purposes, A Widow in Waiting, with 27 chapters and an epilogue, was approximately 175K long. Playing with Fire may well be shorter, but weighing the point in the story where I currently am and my present wordcount, probably not by a whole lot. I'm going to guess... drumroll please... 24 chapters, and 130K in words.
Stay tuned, and send feedback, if you want to see how well I know my own writing! Next post is due on Sampler Saturday, which may or may not happen as my family is in town for a day of work on the house (you mean walls aren't supposed to look like someone attacked them with a butter knife?) but I'll do my best. Thanks as always!