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Anthony’s 2011 Writing Year in Review

January 03, 2012  Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: The Craft   3 Comments

The Rehabilitated Hack Writer Presents: 2011!

(TRUMPETS)

These posts crack me up because they inadvertently become popular with my blog harem and my other 30.7 readers. I’m like… a guy. Who writes… or something. Perhaps everyone loves my dry, sarcastic wit. Or maybe you’re all expecting me to trip over myself. Or perhaps see this post:

The Wife Unit here. I’m sorry, my husband won’t be blogging any more. He made one snarky comment too many and I brained him with a stainless steel Kitchen-Aid sauce pan. No worries, the pan is okay. The DH, however, needs some time to recover.

Admit it you could totally see that.

But I digress. To talk about 2011, let’s go back to 2010.

Somewhere in 2010 I posted a bunch of story ideas. I was really reaching for some direction. Which story appealed to me? Which one could you see me writing?

2011 I figured all that out. Mainly through the mind-clarification process of editing. Here’s the smattering of stories I was considering:

  • That book in which stuff blows up in space
  • An epic fantasy novel book about dragons and singing
  • A book about high school cheerleaders from Utah battling space zombies (you know you want to read it)
  • Death by Decades: every ten years someone tries to kill the main character
  • The Baby Dancers: A YA novel about two brothers who travel across the Endless Void to rescue a baby

What I Learned

We’ll in 2011, here’s what I learned:

I have a dozen dozen ideas in my head. And none of them matter if, when I sit down and write, the voicing is not there. I can tell if the writing has a proper voice.

Holy crap. I can see the voicing.

It’s as if I’ve climbed a mountain, and found the Writing Guru, who then handed me the gift of a lifetime. It’s not that these ideas have bad plots, or maybe the main character is not interesting. I start a novel, and I can tell if the voicing is rocking the pages or if it’s stilted and flat. If it’s not there, I move on. I may have wasted 10,000 words. But I know. I know it down to my tosies.

I can’t begin to describe how liberating this is. It’s a ray of sunshine. Chorus of angles. A (REDACTED) with a (REDACTED) while (REDACTED).

Let me give you an example. I sent Super Cassie a plot idea and she about exploded in excitement, demanding the book in her mailbox.

I sat down and wrote two chapters. The plot is wonderful, and the main character is interesting, but the voice of the story is flat. It’s a literary sexless wonder, and I say that with total affection. I’ve put the manuscript aside.

So Tell Us About the Writing Already

Other than my voicing breakthrough, I wrote two books.

One was Stuff Blowing Up in Space. The book needs another revision, but I have plans for this novel, oh yes I do. It’s creative and fun. It’s sexy and the story arc is epic. EPIC I TELL YOU.

The other book was The Lightning Giver.

And ho-boy (ho-boy being a technical term) what a novel The Lightning Giver is. I have a manuscript that, based on my beta readers reactions, is not so much a YA novel as it Weapon of Emotional Mass Destruction.

It scares me. It really does. I’m not sure I can handle making so many people cry.

I have yet to have The Wife Unit read that one, by the way. It will push all her buttons and I don’t really want her to chase me around the house with a Kitchen-Aid pan.

I’m querying it anyway. If it doesn’t bite, I’ll move on. Because that is what I do. Which leads me to…

2012: I’m Still a Relentless, Productive Little Snot

What’s next? Besides querying my latest widely, I have a variety of things whispering to me:

  • That Baby Dancer book
  • That Dragonsong book
  • Some henceforth untitled book about a teen boy breaking into Hell to rescue the girl of his dreams
  • A book about a starship pilot fighting for a dying race while trying to come to grips with his legacy
  • Rat Princess, the aforementioned book Cassie wants in her mailbox
  • A sci-fi idea that keeps bubbling up about a warrior poet or something like that
  • Cheerleader zombie fighters!

It’s quite the diverse list. Which is good, Someone told me I should enjoy non-contract writing while I could. I believe that was wise advice. Which leads me to…

Self-Publishing: That Thing I Keep Getting Asked About

People ask me constantly if I am ever going to self-publish.

I don’t wanna!

There are many reasons, but here are three that stare me in the face:

  • It will cost me about $3000 to self-publish a book. Yes. 3K. I have editorial standards. I have cover-art standards. Both of these things cost money.
  • To do it right, it’s a time commitment.
  • I am a social creature, a consultant by trade. I like to talk with people and work with other professionals. I am a professional’s professional. That’s what I do. Writing is already a solitary pursuit. Self-publishing to me sounds like a lonely, lonely road.

With that said, I’ve also been told point-blank to stop screwing around. That there was a market for my stuffs and keeping it locked away was simply delaying my back-list.

Okay. That appealed to my “Just Do It” and see what happens nature.

But I don’t know, folks. The positive thing about being unpublished is I’m “allowed” to explore different genres. I could self-publish something and then want to move in an entirely different direction. Yes, I know all about the use of pen names (don’t ask, you don’t want to know). I don’t have any enthusiasm for publishing a novel under a different name. That’s not me.

I don’t have a line in the sand about self-publishing, but I am leery about spending so much time doing something I might dislike immensely. I am a father and a husband and a writer with a full-time job that is intellectually challenging and satisfying. If ever there was someone who should pursue an agent for Team Anthony it would be me.

Then again, the publishing landscape keeps rolling around. eBooks have torn away from traditional publishing methodologies and the path to readership is divergent.

Color me undecided. Which leads me back to…

2012: I’m Still a Relentless, Productive Little Snot

By the end of 2012 I will have written two novels.

That, my friends, is a bit of the awesome.

Weeeeeee!

Oh, and leaving Facebook for a year? Best. Idea. Ever.

3 comments on: Anthony’s 2011 Writing Year in Review

  1. February Grace January 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    That was many kinds of awesome. I had no idea you left FB for a year- did you go back? I left and haven’t gone back even though leaving meant giving up a poetry group I really loved. It just was not for me.

    Hoping 2012 brings you lots of amazing stories and strong voicing and all that good writerly stuff.

    Oh, and thanks to you, I have been wondering whatever happened to the sweet blue chick and that Shepherd chick she went up to the ship to have *ahem* drinks with. Thanks for that. Now I will eternally wonder, because I do not play video games. It WAS more like a movie, though!

    ~bru

    • Anthony January 3, 2012 at 7:12 pm

      I left Facebook in April, saying I would be gone for a year. I had to log in for professional reasons and I felt pretty slimy doing so.

      We’ll see how it pans out for a year. Removing all those negative influences helped my disposition (and writing) dramatically.

      Oh, Liara. See, one thing you have to realize that Liara comes from a mono-gendered species. Zoom to 3:58: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3M4N5d4dOw

      At that point in the game, there isn’t any other interaction you can have with Liara.

      The Liara romance between Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2 is epic, romantic, bittersweet, and, ultimately, outstandingly touching… if you treat her right.

      Happy New Year, Bru!

  2. J.C January 4, 2012 at 10:42 am

    Sounds like you learned a very important thing last year, and it’s funny because maybe you’ve revealed to me why I flunked out with Saving Tomorrow. It’s got loads of potential, and a kick ass character, but I couldn’t get the voice right. So I set that aside. Thankfully, I’m doing okay with Sun-Touched!

    I do definitely want to read Rat Princess, but I am happy to wait until you can nail it. And you will, if you get the right itch. I can’t wait to see what you produce this year!

    Oh and thanks 🙂 It was awesome being referred to as ‘Super Cassie’ 🙂

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