It’s been a minute since I’ve done a writing update. Not because I’ve had nothing to report, but because I’ve been basking in the magic of starting something new.
Last fall, I had an idea for a short story that I started, but didn’t finish until spring of this year. I loved the seed of that little idea so much, but it was a tough one to get going, to turn it into all I felt it could bee. I finally had a spark of another idea to help me this spring and finished my little short story. I loved it immensely and was tremendously proud of it. I remember thinking, “This is the best thing I’ve ever written.”
I took it out to a couple of my beta readers. The three of them have been reading early drafts for me for years. And they loved it too – enough to set me in the direction of taking my little short story, a germ of an idea that took half a year to incubate enough to get it to roughly 6,000 words, and encouraged me to do more.
In the midst of a hellish year where the truth is stranger than anything fiction could devise, that little short story got a revamp and is now the entry point to a new novel.
Fast-forward a few months and I’m now coming up on 45,000 words into the draft of a book I never intended to write. And I still love it with all my heart. It’s lovely and odd in all the right ways. Dark, but also punctuated with moments of hope and beauty. A tribute to both a world that no longer exists and one that never existed at all. It’s the book that only 2020 could write, but also just a step past where I was headed all along.
There’s something very strange about creating inside a year that’s haunted by darkness. Anyone who’s started something new this year, made a positive life change, gotten engaged, married, had a baby, bought a house, I think understands the friction that exists when you set your personal happiness alongside a year that continues to staunchly declare itself itself the worst year of our lives. Many creators have stopped creating entirely, unable to make art or create beauty out of the ether.
It’s also why those of us who HAVE found a way to create, to carve happiness in small fits and starts, who are experiencing some of the most profound joys of the human experience even against a backdrop of darkness, find these moments taste a little bit sweeter, as if to compensate for the bitter taste of life that is the year 2020.
I’m so excited to finish this draft, to get all the pieces down so I can really shape it into something I think is special. Even if it’s special to no one else, but me in the end, I think there will be something unmatched about a creation that sprung unbidden out of the wasteland and that for its creator, presents an ever-refilling well of ecstasy, light, and hope.
This is getting a bit longer than intended and I do have some other things I wanted to drop into this update since it’s been a while so let’s shift gears!
-I’m still continuing to query Shadow of the Magician. Doing that during a year like 2020 is about as soul-crushing and wearying as you’d expect. Nothing much to report here.
-In happier news, an older short story of mine, “Winter’s Cry” was reprinted in The Magazine of History and Fiction this spring. You can read it here.
-My recent short story, “Hyde Park,” received a mention in this awesome review on The Nerd Blitz for the Monsters, Movies, & Mayhem anthology. You can check it out here.
-I wrote a new short story this fall and am continuing to shop around a short story from earlier this year that I received a nice, personalized, and very encouraging rejection for from a publication I really admire. Fingers crossed it finds a home somewhere soon!
-And in non-writing news, we officially have a date and venue for our wedding!