General musings

Where I Want To Be

My last two blog posts were about loss and recovery. Today, I'd like to talk about growth.

My debut novel, Fid's Crusade, has been selected as the winner in the 'Science-Fiction / Fantasy / Horror' category of the 2018 Publishers' Weekly BookLife Prize, and as a finalist being considered for the grand prize. My understanding was that there were nearly nine-hundred competitors this year, winnowed down to six for the final round.

I am, of course, elated. I worked hard on that novel! I'm proud of it and am absolutely thrilled that other people are reading and enjoying my work. But this early success also represents a challenge.

There is a natural tendency, I think, to rest upon one's laurels when one receives external validation. To mimic past performance in the hopes of repeating prior glories.

I know that I've run headlong into that trap at times in my 'day job'. If my employers were impressed with what I did yesterday, why do anything different today? Why innovate? Why learn new skills? The answer is that yesterday, I was being judged by a different standard. Today, my employer knows what I'm capable of. Stagnation is dangerous.

So, what does that mean for my writing?

It means that I need to buckle down and study.

The first part of this journey will involve a lot of reading and careful examination of other authors' writing. I enjoy reading, so that will certainly be no hardship. But, more than just reading...I need to practice, to stretch my abilities, and to try new things.

When I've completed book three in The Chronicles of Fid, my plan is to take a brief break from novel-writing to squeeze out a bunch o' short works. Some will be within my preferred subjects of sci-fi and fantasy, but my intention is also to experiment with genres that I usually avoid: contemporary literature, memoir, poetry, non-fiction articles, etc.

I like to believe that I'm already a decent writer. But I can be better. I will be better.

And someday, I'm going to look back at this first contest and think to myself, "Well, that was a good start!"

David Reiss