Today’s the first day of the online library – and I’m equal parts excited, terrified, and nervous. And because I don’t want to have it totally empty while I’m working out my jitters (so I can actually start some writing exercises to share here), I wanted to start with an introduction. Why do an online writing library?
I want to share an online writing library as a way to showcase (to myself and my readers) my growth as a writer, the things I’ve learned, and whatever else pops up.
It’s equal parts a blog, a history, and just a way for me to practice various writing techniques – most of which fly in the face of my blogging techniques. (Did I mention how just writing a not-optimized title for this blog post is kind of terrifying? Well, it is. But I did it – even if I had to consciously remind myself that it was an intentional choice and that this post isn’t designed to rank – it’s more journal-y).
Okay – well, this post marks a big change from where this blog used to be headed. And that’s okay – as long as we get to quote Friends while we’re at it – “PIVOT!” 🙂
In any case, this marks the first part of the online library – and I hope (and plan) to do regular updates to it. I love how Brandon Sanderson does his “State of the Sanderson” yearly update on Koloss head-munching day (his birthday). And while I won’t be sticking to his birthday, I’d like to institute my own take on that – a “State of the Starr,” if you will. However, I may do more regular updates than yearly – or I won’t. I’ll have to see how it evolves.
State of the Starr (version 1.0)
As of today, I have no traditionally published books or stories. I’ve only submitted one piece, actually – and it was to Deep Magic (where I’m now a first reader who reads the submissions). I wasn’t a first reader at the time. But now that I am one, I can see why my piece was so (quickly but politely) rejected.
Thankfully, that story file was corrupted and will never see the light of day. Or I deleted it and I forgot I deleted it. Either way, it’s quite gone. Even so, I’ve had several story ideas bouncing around in my head. I’ll go through those now – and then explain why they’re all shelved for the time being.
Stories that are in the works
Untitled Supermoms Story – This story has been planned in my head for months – until I realized that it was a plot-driven mess with super-powered logs instead of characters. So for now, it’s been shelved until I can iron out the wrinkles and develop some characters who just so happen to have superpowers along with their everyday lives and character arcs.
Untitled Zombie Apocalypse Story – Writing a character who starts out as unlikable and settles into a newfound sense of humanity isn’t easy on a first go. By now, I think I’m actually to a third or twelfth go, but who’s counting? In any case, this story is also back on the shelf while I continue to learn a few tricks that should help.
Untitled Fantasy Superhero Story – This story splintered off the supermoms idea – and has a lot more feeling and depth to it. It’s suffering from world builder’s disease, though, so it’ll probably just be a really cool backstory that I publish here on the website once it’s been at least edited. However, I’m seeing some cool promise with it and have some ideas I want to explore with discovery writing.
Untitled Leprechaun Story – This hot mess of a story is what I submitted to Deep Magic some time ago – and eight versions ago. It’s been updated and upgraded immensely since then. Even so, it keeps evolving and improving and this one will definitely get shared – it’s just a really cool story I can’t wait to get edited and shared so that you can see it.
Current Focus: Learning and Outlining
As I’ve been both writing stories and reading them for Deep Magic, I’ve begun to really see that there’s a huge divide between those who’ve professionally studied the art of story-telling – and those who are winging it. So I’m taking a step back from writing stories full-time to dedicated a good chunk of time to learning about the theory and art behind writing.
Does this slow down my trajectory towards being a published author? It sure seems like it would. However, I’d like to posit that it won’t – for two reasons.
- Many great writers say that, once you’ve written your first million words, then you are ready to start being a professional writer.
- It’s possible to learn from the mistakes of others to the point that it saves you a great deal of time, heartache, and worry.
So by taking the time to study and learn while I blog, I’m hoping to bypass a few hoops completely. From blogging, I’d guess that I’ve already written more than a million words across all of my websites. Some of those posts were truly awful, though, and I can’t help but sigh with relief at the fact that the worst ones went down with their websites.
Before you worry too much, I also recognize that fiction writing also uses different muscles than blogging does. However, it’s a lot like athletics. If you’re a talented athlete who specializes in basketball or tennis – and you participate in regular conditioning, then the odds are that you’ll still smoke anyone else who’s just a regular person, even if that person works out at the gym.
So I’m still writing primarily for my niche websites (to make sure that I’m getting in the writing calisthenics) and still doing some fiction writing exercises. And I’m learning everything I can from my favorite authors, writing workshops, and online courses. But that’s okay – because it should save me a good bit of time – while I keep writing, build some niche websites that will help me self-publish until I get a contract with a traditional publisher, and have fun learning from the best and brightest.
Goals for 2020
During 2020, I plan to continue this pattern of writing for my niche sites, binge-learning, practicing writing exercises, reading for Deep Magic, and writing my own stories ad nauseum. It’ll make for a pretty monotonous year – but also a year that sets a solid foundation for years to come so that I can write good fiction at a prolific rate.
Whew! This got to be a lot longer than I thought it would be. It’s almost double that of what I used to term an average blog post (pre-2019, anyway). But that’s okay – now you know the plan – and what’s coming your way: a lot of awesomeness. It’ll be slow, sure – but it’ll be steady and it will also steadily improve until the day that we can hang out at a book signing. I’ll see you there!