I have a small confession to make, though it feels like a huge one to me. I think that post I wrote a month ago was more of a letter from my subconscious than I realized before. I’m talking about the post on fear.
I forgot, you see. I forgot the promise I made myself when I sat down and got serious about writing. I swore I wouldn’t run away from anything anymore, and certainly not from a story. I could put one on hold if I didn’t think it was ready to be written yet because I didn’t know enough about the story or characters to write it, but not because I was afraid of the story. I used to do that a lot. I’d get some idea I was absolutely sure was amazing, maybe even perfect (hahaha), then I’d worry I wasn’t good enough to tell it. I’d back away after making notes and tell myself I’d come back to it when I was good enough. When I started taking my writing seriously, I realized that you get better by trying anyway. Besides, you can make it better in revisions. So I told myself I wouldn’t run away anymore because I was afraid of writing a story or of the demands it would make of me.
And then I did just that last fall.
Some of you might recall me making notes and planning Spire of Time, a trilogy centred around a woman named Reah. This was just after I finished the outline for the final book in my Necromantic trilogy. I was sure it was going to be my next project. I remember mentioning that it was going to be hard to write because of some of the past events in my life that relate to the story. Then I changed my mind. I went through a few other possibilities before settling on Masques.
Here’s the thing. I knew I hadn’t spent enough time thinking about Masques, not by a long shot, and I know where that’s gotten me in the past. It’s the main reason I ended up having to rewrite Bound from the ground up. I did it anyway, and I wonder if that’s part of why I struggled with writing Unmasked so much. Yes, parts of it flowed, enough that I had my best ever day, but… How to explain this. I look back and think the story isn’t right. Maybe that’s just the internal editor going bonkers after being cooped up for 120k words, but I don’t think so. It wasn’t ready, but I needed an excuse to avoid Spire.
I’ve done a fair bit of soul-searching about this the last couple of days. I’ve felt Spire and Reah tugging at my thoughts and my heart for, oh, a couple of weeks now, but more so the last week. She’s whispering to me, and I’m listening, even if it’s scary. I know that parts of this one will hurt to write, for reasons I’m not prepared to go into, but it will. Yet on the other hand, I think it’ll be more than a bit cathartic. I know where that story leads Reah, in a general sense, and it’s a good place.
I think the biggest reason I’m coming back to Spire is because it’ll be hard. I refuse to take the easy path, to let myself wuss out. It’s time for me to reaffirm that promise to myself. I’m not going to run away, and I won’t give up either. That means moving forward with this story, even if every step terrifies me. It’s the right thing to do, and I think that this story will be one people enjoy.
With all of this in mind, I’m putting Masques on hold. I need time away from it to figure out what it needs that I think it’s lacking, or at least enough to reread the manuscript with a clear mind and evaluate it fairly. But more than that, I’m going to tell Reah’s story because it needs to be told and that’s enough for me. I’ve been writing down the whispers, as always and like what’s there. Last night I also wrote a bit from Reah’s point of view. It wasn’t part of any book or even her short story, just a character exploration. I do that sometimes, to get into their heads. Usually it starts from a question or imperative, or just the beginning of a though. In this case, I started with “I don’t know what I was thinking…” I wrote a page in my steno book (yes, longhand, I do actually know how to do that still) and learned new things about her in that space. I’ll probably do a couple more soon. And then I’ll get back to that outline I’d started.
Before I forget, I finished this round of edits on my novella, Through Windows and Hearts. It now stands at 28.5k words, which is a long way from where it started. I think it’s immeasurably better for the extra words, the way I tweaked the story. We’ll see how I feel when I go for round 2. That’s a little way away though.
In the meantime, I need to go through my secret short story project for another round of editing. You should be hearing about what this really is in the near future, but for now, it has to remain a secret. And then I’ll probably reread the short story I wrote for Reah. That needs to be polished too, though it doesn’t have a deadline like the secret project does.
More than anything though, I’m going to work at keeping myself honest about my reasons for the choices I make. And of course, not run away from any story idea, just because I think it’ll be hard.