April may or may not be the cruellest month

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
~T.S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”

T.S. Eliot knew a thing or two about April.

I’m looking out my window and it’s snowing. I only wish I could shout “April Fools!!” but the first of the month has passed us by. It’s a dreary Monday morning with slippery roads forecast, which is why I’ve chosen to work from home today and avoid the dangers of the through-Hartford commute.

April may not be all bad, though; I’m about twelve scenes away from finishing the first draft of SIREN: BRIDE OF THE BROKEN KING, and I’ve already got ideas swirling for the next book I’ll write.

Yesterday marked the first time my writing group got to give me feedback on my work (SIREN: THE EXILE). It was both saddening, because I have work to do to tighten things up, and eye-opening because having brand-new eyes on my work – the eyes of people who don’t already know me and trust me to take them on a journey – taught me a few things about what it means to have to win over a new audience rather than count just on people who’ve known you for years.

Some of the advice I’ll take – like killing repeat words and head-hopping. Others I won’t – like that I should really drop the reader in the middle of an immediate conflict. It’s true that my writing tends to get a bit lyrical, especially in a first draft where I’m just getting everything out of my head and on to the page, so I know there are places I could cut to strengthen. But I also know that my style is lyrical; I’m a slow-roller, not a ball-grabber, and I’m fine with that.

Once S:BOTBK is drafted, I’ll let both that and EXILE sit for a while, then read back over both of them for opportunities to tighten things up and to solve any continuity issues. It’s kind of amazing to be sitting here with another book almost done; when I started it (around 12/18/15) I was expecting it to take about six months. This one hasn’t been as quick as EHP to write, but it’s been quicker than I expected.

Writing it down, though, is the easy part. It’s editing things that’s harder for me, because I struggle with looking back; I want to constantly move to the next thing. But it’s all part of the journey when you’re trying to get your stories out into the world. I’m hoping EXILE will be ready for self-publishing later this year, and with that goal in mind, going back in for edits will probably be a lot more palatable.

Time to hunker down, get to work (the job I actually get paid for), and dream of achieved word counts.

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