After being paralyzed for months, and doing all the advice I give others, I finished the revision of the first chapter of Ferals & Blights tonight. Dissecting my behavior and feelings afterward, I’m able to say two things:
- Professional opinions help. I was afraid to revise the wrong thing, and getting John’s feedback helped me trust what I was doing would improve the work.
- Killing Your Darlings doesn’t mean what I thought it did. Trying to revise what I had already written wasn’t working. I had to let those words go and start anew. I had to believe in myself, not in what I’d already written. One of my beta readers was angry I was killing those words off, but once I explained my rationale and my new plan, I felt even more confident it was the right thing to do – and I found my momentum again. I shored up weak spots and established stronger motivations.
So, my advice if you’re struggling is to loosen your grip, and if you can afford it, get some professional eyeballs on your work.
As for the blog serial, it’s coming down to the wire, and I’ll admit I’m not ready. My solution to that is butt-in-chair with chocolate as reward until I finish! As always, thanks for reading my work.
As soon as Jackie’s head passed under the stone entry, Melody’s compulsion slipped from her limbs. She needed to find an indirect means of gaining access, one that wouldn’t be obvious to anyone inside. The women were slipping away and some of the soldiers joined them. Even if Sharna failed in whatever hare-brained attempt she was making, she’d cracked the status quo. Jackie doubted the soldiers would return to serve the Fathers anytime soon.
Jackie assembled her grappling hook and dug out the slender rope from her inner jacket pocket. It took her three attempts before the hook caught. Amateur, she thought. She kicked off her shoes. Barefoot was better than slippery. I’m going to make Sharna buy me new slippers when this is all over. I miss those shoes. The pull of her muscles felt good after days of inactivity.
Three minutes later, she was creeping along an inner corridor. Her initial impression had been correct. This used to be a place of commerce and management. There were probably unemployed, starving accountants wandering the Cloud Realm. The place was really nothing like she’d imagined, and she sighed once more with the disappointment. The building was smaller on the inside than it looked from the outside, and Jackie found a stretch of rooms with balconies abutting the interior courtyard where the women had been assembled before Melody’s command. She crept out onto an open slab to peer over the edge.
“Hate is a strong word. Maybe they just wanted a break. You know, like a vacation?”
An old guy, a less old guy, and a kid were standing arms-length from Sharna. The youngest was sniffling and looking at Sharna the same way the Dawn rebels had – as if she were going to feed him.
“No, no. They hated us. They told us all the time how we used up their energy. How we were holding them back, making their lives harder.”
Sharna took a step toward the boy. “But, that’s how it has to be isn’t it? If you weren’t there to balance them, they would create until there was too much, right?” The boy flung his arms around Sharna’s waist. Jackie couldn’t see what made Sharna cry out in fear, but she slipped down the rope to stand beside the four of them.
“Would you like to get out of here?” she asked Sharna. But as Sharna turned to face her, Jackie saw the problem. Sharna was fighting a silent battle. Where the boy was gripping her waist with his face buried in her side, her clothes were moth-eaten and her flesh began to wrinkle and gray. The process was slowly spreading up and down her body, and she was frozen with shock and fear.
Jackie moved without thinking. She pulled the boy off Sharna, and as her hand touched his shoulder, she felt the skin on her own palm thin and her fingers curl with stiffness. Sharna was wide-eyed and trembling. Melody’s anger and power were nowhere in evidence. Jackie took her good hand and made a fist.
“I’m sorry, Sharna. You’ll thank me someday, I hope.” She punched her best friend in the face as hard as she could.
(I have a new interview to post in the coming week, so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!)