Full Disclosure

Yeah, I have a degree in journalism. In getting that degree I was taught that if there is any possible conflict of interest the writer must make a full disclosure statement. But now for the part that might seem weird to most, but maybe not my writer friends.

Full disclosure: I’m scared. And to be honest, as a writer, I’m not even sure of what. Rejection? Success?

I think it’s something unrelated, or maybe in between. All I know is this: For the last several months I’ve read through portions of my manuscript for Requiem for a Laborer. I’ve been able to make a few basic edits, correcting horrible sentenses, improper word choice, that sort of thing. But when it comes to making “flesh and bone” changes, I’ve been paralyzed.

Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way at all thinking that my work is beyond reproach. In fact, I think that like many writers (and musicians- I fancy myself a vocalist too. Blues, if you must know.) our own worst critics.

Every time I sit down to edit, I find myself thinking: Who would want to read this? Who would want to read a novel about a group of wannabe freedom fighters on a steam powered airship? Sure the aerial battle plays out super cool in my head but…      and the thoughts trail off…

At this point, I find myself thinking what right do I have to write a steampunk novel? Cheri Preist has it down with her Clockwork Century series but is there anything of real value that I can add to the genre? I feel like I have a different approach but  maybe it isn’t different enough?

And it is at this point that things get even more sticky for me. In college, (I graduated four years ago as a non-traditional student)  I was given very positive feedback from my professors, English professor Alayne Peterson,  about my writing. My thought? Oh, they’re just being kind. I’m really not that good.

Then again, maybe this is self-destructive thought. If I produce a story that a few people find entertaining I think that I have done my job. Maybe I could it evolve it into a series. Time and ability will tell.

So what brought me out of my writing funk? Well…

I was watching a #Joe_ Bonamassa Mountain Time video, awesome guitar work awesome musician. Beyond that, I don’t think I could really tell you.

I can tell you this, however, I am trying my damnedest to start moving forward with my writing.





3 thoughts on “Full Disclosure

  1. Imposter syndrome and self-doubt are very common, and they’ve plagued me too this year. To address a few of your points directly though –

    1. There is still room for steampunk. Although it has become pretty mainstream in the past 10 years, it is still a comparatively low volume subgenre. I still see agents asking for steampunk books specifically. I also see a lot of agents jonesing for classic adventure stories with a hopeful/feel good vibe. So you’re good there!

    2. At a film seminar, someone told me “there’s the film we imagine, the film we shoot, and the film we edit.” In every film I’ve made, and a lot of writing too, this is so incredibly true. Each step dwindles farther away from our original vision as we’re forced to work with the resources we have. Maybe we imagine a cool aerial dogfight. But then we only have the budget to shoot it on green screen. But then the sound messes up and the camera was out of focus so we have to edit out the cool barrel rolls and work with what’s left. Usually, the movie you edit together is still excellent….even if it’s not as good as your original vision. With writing, sometimes we just can’t find the words. We are limited to one character’s POV, so we can’t shoot over to the other side of the battlefield and show what’s happening there. We can’t write in a swooping musical score to pull it all together.

    TLDR – it’s not too damning that your scenes may not be coming together exactly as envisioned. We do the best we can, and 9 times out of 10, our readers really don’t know the difference. Case in point, my betas liked scenes in Paradisa that I was holding together with scaffolding and prayers. My insecurity was not noticed by them. It was only in my head.

    3. The slush reader for Baen had wise words for me this weekend. I told him I’d become very insecure about style and voice and he was like ” Don’t do that. Just tell a good story. We want books that are fun. There isn’t enough fun in the world.” There are definitely readers, agents, editors, and publishers out there who are highbrow about writing and might look down on us. But there are just as many out there who simply want fun. So if you write the story that you want to read – a fun adventure – then undoubtedly other people will find it fun too 🙂

    Also, welcome back. I’ve missed you on my feed!

  2. Hi Thomas! You liked one of my blog posts (ISIS sarcasm), so I thought I’d meander over here for a bit. I made a start and will revisit, but just first must tell you that you have many typos, and could use a proofreader. Maybe you’re not aware…? I’d love to help you out, if you can spare a few bucks (I could use them)! If not, no problem! I enjoy reading your stuff anyway, and will continue. Bye,

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