Last Week’s WW: Lists
I had expressly planned to enter the Writer’s of the Future Contest again. Not because there was anything wrong with it, just because I was working on other things and figured it’d always be there. But, when I got word that I had received an Honorable Mention, I decided to go for it.
Not sure if you remember or not, but for a time, I was working on a series called Skyland. I had planned it to be a four-five part story, but it stalled a bit on book 3-4 (Originally book 3, but then, changed to book 4, because I was going to split the first one into 2). The first story takes place on a floating, technologically advanced sky island (therefore, I call it Skyland, not sky-land), the second book took place on earth, which is desolate, weirdly religious about their only, most often times broken, tech, and they live in wind tunnels. Book three is about a community of researchers trapped in their underwater city, Submerbia, when the habitability of earth is destroyed, book four, they all come together. There is some threading and overlapping characters in all the books, but they are also meant to be stand alones.
With that in mind, I decided to take Skyland and turn it into a short story for the contest. This meant deleting, a lot, so I could give it a proper ending. I somehow managed to incorporate the other books, or, nods to them anyway, into the story. I’ve still got about 800 words to take out to get it down to length, but somehow, I managed to do it.
Beyond that, this is my third pass through Skyland. It’s a little different than the others, but still, it’s not the first draft (well, most of it isn’t). But I think it’s awesome, and that it has a good chance of winning, and I love it, and Skyland may be my favorite thing that I’ve ever written.
Why is this important to know?
Because after I was done tooling around with Skyland, I went back to writing on the first draft of my newest project, the Sleeping Saga. (title may change). And I looked at it, something that I had been so excited about before and was crushed.
This is how my thought process went: This is all junk. The writing is awful. The style, tone, ugh, I thought I was better than this now…
But I have to remind myself that that isn’t true. First drafts all have this problem. It’s difficult to go from working on something that you’ve managed to shape into a smooth, sparkly, Pegasus, and go back to massaging a dirty hippo. It will make you question yourself. It’ll make you wonder if you’re writing the wrong thing, or if your last work, the one you really liked, was just a fluke.
It’s just the differences between drafts. It’s all about where you are in the process. It’s disheartening to go from one to the other. But you can’t stay with the same work forever. So, keep on brushing that hippo, and before you know it, it’ll fly.