January 7, 2010

Due to a computer crash a year or so ago, and the fact I had a tendency to have several copies of works in various states of completion spread throughout my computer, I lost most of a novel I had gotten half-way through or so, because I had only backed up an early version of the file with only the first few pages and lots of notes about what I wanted to do, and not the later one, where I actually was writing it.

It was the second book of a potential young adult f/sf series, and after submitting a completed draft of the first to the critique of my writer’s group, I decided it was time to start rewriting the second book, from scratch. I knew it would be different than before. I feel my writing has improved, and others agree with me. Those in my critique group who heard some of the chapters of my early lost version have told me what I am now writing is better. So this all makes me feel good.

It also makes me wonder a bit about Book One. Writing from scratch in some ways is easier than revising. But when I finish this draft of Book Two, I know I am going to need to return to Book One and address the critique it has received. The two books fuse together as a complete story arc, so I plan to market them together. I could focus on getting Part One ready to circulate among agents and publishers, but I think most would prefer to know that the rest of the arc is complete in at least draft form. And there is a small chance that the break in the story arc that separates the two books could change.

***

Meanwhile I have lots of unpublished poetry, and two different competing urges.

Urge One: Put together another chapbook. Distribute it among friends/family.
Urge Two: Try to get some of this poetry published first.

Lots of markets don’t like publishing previously published material. Some of them don’t consider chapbooks with very limited distribution as previously published, but many do.

For a long time I’ve used this as an excuse not to put together another chapbook. And I have also refrained from submitting the poetry to those hypothetical markets. It leads me to compare myself to Dostoevsky’s Raskolnikov, who murdered a lady, and took her money — arguing she was hoarding it, and so much could be done with it — and then he buried the money.

If I’m going to murder my chapbooks before I write them, at the very least I should be submitting those poems somewhere. Or I’m no better than Raskolnikov. Or so the analogy leads me to conclude.