Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Moving on...

Surrey countdown: T minus 17 days.

Well, after a welcome reassurance from a fellow Scottish time-travel writer, I feel better about my book and the fact that it is not just "fan fiction." I rewrote the "intro" paragraph for the chapbook so as to highlight unique details, and it is up to the coordinator to include it or not. Here is what I sent along with the excerpt (blog readers have seen most of this before):

ELSPETH (working title) by Rebecca Gabriel

Elizabeth "Elspeth" Clarke is an American physicist seeking to forget the heartache of her fiance's betrayal by a (solitary) summer trip to Scotland. While exploring the ruins of historic Kilchurn castle, she discovers a wormhole connecting two points in space-time...by falling through it. Now she is in 17th century Scotland and being pursued by the politically avaricious "Grey" John Campbell, Earl of Breadalbane and Holland and owner of Kilchurn. Campbell has found the historical notes Elspeth carried back with her, and intends to exploit her apparent "Sight" for his own gain. But she has found temporary refuge with the MacGregors of Glen Strae, an outlawed clan with their own reasons to hate the Campbells. Alasdair "Alec" MacGregor, named for the grandfather the Campbells executed years ago, has become her friend and confidant.

In other fun Surrey news, I got my volunteer assignments. Thursday they have me "monitoring" (keeping time and making sure there aren't any disruptions/interruptions) two of the Master Classes that I wasn't going to be able to afford. So even though I'm not participating, I'll be able to sit in on them and learn for free. Woo for that!

I got very little writing done last night; the stubborn first chapter is at a temporary standstill. Tonight is TV night with DH, so I don't know if I'll get much done tonight, either. There are a few short bits knocking around in my head, mostly later scenes. But I'll probably try to get some of them down, at least. As Diana says, words on the page are always a Good Thing.

1 comment:

Jon said...

The most important question you need to ask yourself is: 'Do I really want to write a novel?' I think I know the answer, but that's not up to me to decide--it's all on you.

I'm sure someone famous once said, 'There are no new ideas, only new ways of presenting them.' And if no one famous ever said that, then you can attribute it as a Jon Fisher original--but only marginally so. Someone else has undoubtedly thought it at some point, and I just put it into my words.

Take heart. It looks like you're hitting the first serious difficulties of writing, and most likely there are more to come. This time I really do have something from someone more famous than myself. As Jessamyn West put it, 'Writing is so difficult that I feel that writers, having had their hell on earth, will escape all punishment hereafter.'

As your encouraging younger brother who thinks he actually has an unbiased opinion, I think your style's strong and your story original enough (granted, I don't read Scottish time-travel fiction, but that doesn't matter). Remember that with the success of Diana's novels, and others in the sub-genera, people are more likely to look unfavorably at similar premises--that is, they will take their novels with a grain of critical salt. Add some more spices of your own, and see if they don't find it more palatable.

If Novel 1 is not the success that you (all writers, really) would hope, then you need to step back, take a couple of deep breaths, and focus your thoughts on the fact that, dammit, you completed a fucking novel and you are awesome.

Writing improves with practice and experience, and not a single author that I know of has managed to completely evade all naysayers and rejection slips, even over the course of a very fruitful career.

This, of course, is merely *if* N1 is not a success, and it very well can be. Take your time, and take pleasure in writing it because you want to. I think that will show through in your work.

And say N1 is not immediately accepted, but N2, with all that you have learned from your peers, conferences, and your first foray into the field, gets your name out there. Then maybe people will be looking for more from Rebecca Gabriel, and you'll say, 'Well, hell, I happen to have this completed manuscript here in my desk drawer, and let me just tweak a few things for you really quickly.'

I think I had more to say, but I'd meant to say less anyway.