24, Snow Day!!! (Okay, Ice Day) and My Dilemma

Wow, what about that ending of 24 last night? AWESOME! Poor Jack.

30 degrees, been raining all weekend. They called us last nigth at 8 to tell us no school today. Cindi and I were actually disappointed - this was to be a workday and you can imagine how much stuff I put off so I could do today, with no kids. And it was to be her first day back from maternity leave, planned that way so she could catch up instead of just diving in with the kids.

Oh, well, the highways aren't closed now, but they're expecting more rain later, which can be Very Bad. Of course, since the dh works at the TV station, he's going in. At least he has the big heavy 4WD.

My Cafe Press order, with my long sleeved Supernatural shirt, was out for delivery but never got here yesterday. The website said it experienced an exception. I hope it comes soon!

Now, my dilemma.

Here's the story....

A couple of summers ago (I think) I got an invitation to join a critique group. All the members were pubbed, and they saw promise in me with all my near misses, so they invited me. Thrilled and intimidated as hell, I went.

One of them is great about helping her friends get published, like coming up with anthologies and stuff, and pitching them. She helped her friends get pubbed withTriskelion, then Kensington.

Last summer, we started batting around the idea for a series of connected books, written by each of us, tied to Adventure vacations. Sounds right up my alley, right? I've even written 90 pages or so on mine, my ghost hunter story.

Except this weekend the concept changed. I can't really complain because it's not my concept, and while it's a good idea (each book will be a quest for a "weapon" to be used in a later book) it's WAY too complex for me. I was actually nervous about writing the book I was writing in connection to the original ideas, because I have trouble seeing someone else's vision of a character, you know? But this is going to take a lot more structure, a lot more of seeing someone else's characters, someone else's plot, someone else’s vision. Plus it’s very intimidating to me to be the only untried voice, and trying to live up to the expectations of the other members of the group.

They've come up with another series idea for Blaze, with the Adventure theme, but I don't write all that hot.

So my initial reaction is to bail. To take my ghost hunters and go back to SIM, start targeting that again. Trish and I have discussed it, and she thinks I need to go with my gut.

But what if they hit big with this idea, and I'm like, "MAN, I could have been a part of that." Is that a good enough reason to step out of my comfort zone?

I think part of the reason I'm so reluctant is that last year, from January to November, I only wrote 100 pages of new stuff. I was stuck in revisions for 11 months and I'm ready to write my own stuff.

My dh thinks I should do it. He asked what the difference is between them telling me what to write and an editor. I said an editor can buy my books. But my cps are also awfully good at the pitching, and they’d do that. I feel I don’t have much to offer in the way of marketing, either.

Anyway, I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

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kris said...

Mary, here's my thoughts on your dilemma: ask yourself what's really holding you back. If it's fear that you can't make the grade, so to speak, you should give it a shot anyway. But if it's because the focus has shifted to become a type of book you don't like and don't enjoy writing - then that's more serious. Maybe give it a try, play with it for a week or so, because you never know. But you know as well as I do that the misery of being unpublished is nothing compared to the misery of getting locked into writing books you don't like. That is just an awful situation. You don't want to do that to yourself just so you can sell.

Michelle Rowen said...

One of my favorite quotes:

If you do what you've always done, you get what you've always gotten. - A hairstylist on The Learning Channel's "A Makeover Story"

Challenge yourself. Stretch. Be fearless. You can do it. :-)

Anonymous said...

The ending of last night's 24 shocked the daylights out of me! I so wasn't expecting THAT!

Cindy Taylor said...

Published writers don't waste time, effort and a critique group on someone they don't think has got it. So, if your worried you don't have what it takes, well...maybe you should lock those feeings in the closet. *g*

Is there a way for you to write both this and some new stuff on your own?

Kelly Boyce said...

Can you brainstorm ideas with your cps to get a better idea what's in store for you? I usually go with my gut, provided fear isn't the only thing dictating my actions. Usually I ask myself 'what's the worst that could happen?'. I tank. What's the best 'I'm published'. Can you live with the risk of tanking if the pay off is being published?

But even more importantly - do you feel any passion for the story idea being pitched?

Anonymous said...

Mar, I sent you my thoughts in private email...but I say, believe in your talent more than in your doubt that you can carry this off. Your talent outweighs any doubt.


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

I agree with what everyone said, but I'm not going to definitively tell you what you should do.

IF it's about comfort zone, you will probably be happiest if you do it. Fear of something you've never done before is never a good reason not to to it (and believe me, I know because that's me to a T ).

BUT if it's not about comfort zone but about if you are really READY to do what they're proposing, maybe you shouldn't. I suspect you're ready and don't realize it--but I could be wrong. I haven't read your stuff. I know the first single title I wrote I could never have done when I first thought of it four years before that. But you don't know for sure if you're ready until you try.

Some other considerations:

Some people just don't work with others well. And I don't mean in a nasty, self-important way, but simply in a "I want to write my story my way" way. I'm one of those. I did a collaboration last year that was GREAT fun and I'm thrilled that I did it--but I'm never doing it again, and I would never have done it if it was bigger than novella level. That's not a flaw or a problem--it's just reality.

Finally, Kelly used the most important word: Passion. If it's not there, it will be hell, and it will be worse hell if the other drawbacks you fear are magnified by the lack of interest in the story you're writing (like queen-a said).

In the end, only you can decide which way is best for you. It's a good dilemma to have! Good luck!

Shesawriter said...

This is sorta like an arranged marriage. You're kinda hoping the love will come after the fact. Hmmmm. I dunno. It happens, Mary. Can you find something endearing, lovable, and exciting about this prospective 'husband'? Enough to carry you through the days of hell (writer's block, story stall, brainstorming, edits, revisions ... etc) If you can do THAT, it might work. If you can't, don't commit.

MJFredrick said...

I still haven't made a decision, and I'm supposed to have the synopsis to them today. So maybe I have, subconsciously. Maybe if I had an idea that would fit that I was crazy about, I wouldn't have this doubt. But I've got nothing. I did email my cps with my concerns.

I think a big part is that I'm not as driven to be published as I was. I just got so tired of the heartbreak, you know?

The thing that scares me is the clues and the red herrings and the twisting plots. All that would mean I have to PLOT, which as you know is a 4 letter word to me ;)

Michelle, that is an awesome quote, and one that stayed with me all day yesterday. Lots to think about.

Cindy, I don't know how I could write both. Heck, I can barely write one! School has been kicking my butt this year and the drive to push myself is gone.

Kelly, I like the idea of the "game" format, but I don't have any thoughts that would fit. If I could find one like my ghost hunters, which was meant to be part of the series, I might be more excited and more willing to stretch myself. As for the brainstorming, I emailed them yesterday and haven't heard anything.

Natalie, Trish and I were talking about the "not playing well with others" theory, and I think that's a big part of it. I never went back for my masters because I didn't want to be told what to do anymore. I think this is like that.

Tanya, if I could find a potential "husband" that was hunky and sweet and endearing....or even two of those things....but I can't think of anything.

KATZ said...

Sounds exciting to be a part of, Mary!! I'm tempted to say go for it - it could be the foot in the door you need, and totally relax and let THEM do the pitching! :)
But I also understand the torture of trying to squeeze out words if it's not what you love. Once I decided writing "suspense" wasn't for me - trying to finish ms #2 was miserable, and I was almost glad to get a form R from Intrigue so that I could move on guilt free!!
And - you might suprise yourself and really love it! :)
Good luck!

Natalie J. Damschroder said...

In your post today you said something that's very important--at the end of 2006 you found joy in writing for the first time in three years. (Maybe more if you figure March 2003 to November 2006)

I think it's really important to stay in touch with that joy. After all you've been through with the writing, and all the angst and negativity--isn't that the reason for writing?

MJFredrick said...

Thanks, Sarah! I tried RS, too, and it is tough. I find I like it more when I give it an adventure background.

Natalie, you're right. I was so tied up in wanting to get published. I still wrote what I wanted to write, but EVERYTHING was with an eye toward being published. Not a happy place.


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