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Sunday, December 20, 2009

I'm A Brat, Recovering

I'm glad I've written the previous posts about pride, cause, boy howdy! this could be a doozie.

I'm going to write this post for two reasons. One, I want this blog to be an accurate reflection of my writing journey. That means even when I'd prefer not to write something about myself, I'm going to do it anyway. If I ever get a fan base, I hope they appreciate it.

Two, I've said before I have to plan my actions before the moment arrives or I freeze. This means I spend a lot of time thinking about what I will do in situations that never happen. Welcome to my hell. I do try to focus on things statistically likely to happen. God will have to take care of me in the rest.

The MLS experience has opened all manner of new situations for me. First contest I ever wanted to win (except that candy selling contest in third grade with the 8 lb bar of chocolate as first prize. I won, by the way). First time I submitted with an actual chance to get published (I knew Tor would never accept me). First time I've written any of the things required for the contest.

I think I've done pretty well with them. I thank God and Gene Getz and my new found turtle philosophy of one little step at a time...

Let me tell you a fact about brats. We have one thing in common. We all believe we are The
Exception to The Rule. Doesn't matter what Rule, we are The Exception.

Brats believe this because it's true. For whatever reason, brats are formed when they actually are the exception to the rule. Brats are broken when The Rule finally applies. The worst case scenario for a brat is death. Can't really negotiate that.

I encountered The Rule in my 12th year. It was quite painful (though thankfully not deadly), but I survived and became a recovering brat. I also began my crusade to be The Rule to any brat I happen to encounter. Ask my nieces. I think they've forgiven me.

The rest of my life has been a struggle to accept The Rule. For the most part I succeed. But every once in a while, my brat shows up and expects to be the exception.

Why write about this now? I'm still processing the new experience of word counts, and cutting 100 pages, and my first book, and just how badly I want to be published. I now have two examples of Jeff the Publisher asking new writers to cut their word counts on their first books (and after he wrote on the forum that new writers don't necessarily need to limit their word counts, too! Not nice, Jeff!). This concerns me a little.

I think of my first born like The Sixth Sense. I believe it is the best book I will ever write (I might believe that because I think the world will end soon, but maybe not). Frankly, I'm a little afraid of making it my first published book because I don't know if I can ever do that again, and we all know what happened to M. Night Shayamalan. I'm not saying Star of Justice is perfect. It needs copy editing and tightening and tweaking and maybe even some cutting. I have no problem with minor adjustments.

I am processing this because I need to know what I will do if Jeff the Publisher asks me to drastically cut words on Star of Justice. If I don't answer that question in my own head before it happens, my automatic freeze response will be "no."

Don't be stupid, you might tell me. You'll never get another chance with this. Yeah, Mr. Collins said the same thing to Lizzy and she got Mr. Darcy. Not that I'm comparing MLS to Mr. Collins. OK, I kinda am, but... Anyway, I don't make my decisions based on what might happen later. I make them based on what lets me sleep at night. Can I sleep if I cut 100 pages from Star of Justice? Would it really be a better book or just a shorter book?

Some people (Elder Brother comes to mind) would tell me not to borrow trouble and no point worrying about it until MLP requests a full mss. I can't help it with this one. I will think about this until I resolve it. I have no hope of doing otherwise.

I probably won't write another post on the subject, but this is what will be going through my mind for a while. I will pray that God gives me wisdom in answering the question. And maybe, I'll be The Exception one more time.

My Brat sure hopes so.

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