Marathon Mania   14 comments

In just two short days from now the Summer posting marathon of the Speculative Fiction Group at AgentQuery Connect begins. To say the least, I’m as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs over it.

For those of you who may not know; The posting marathon is actually a beta read/critique of a polished work in progress for those of us who belong to the group. In short you end up with several different authors critiquing your story one chapter per week.

Now I am certainly not opposed to critique by my fellow writers. As I’ve often said, I can’t fix what I don’t know about. And with several different authors, from several different levels of publishing experience, I’m sure to get a good cross reference as to what I can do to make the story better. After all, that is my main goal as a writer; to turn out the best possible work that I can.

So, why should I be nervous?

In short, good old fashioned self-doubt. Sure, I like the story. Sure, I think I have been clever, and wove together a tale that will keep the reader turning pages. Sure, close friends and family think its one of the best things they’ve read. But, if all I was after was ego massaging, I wouldn’t be bothering with editing, revising, throwing out old sub-plots that didn’t drive the story, etc,etc. I’d just keep bugging friends and family so I could hear them say, “You should publish this.”

(Bless their hearts, but they have said that about any piece of garbage that I’ve concocted over the years. And, believe me, there were more than a few stinkers in that mix.)

No, what’s keeping my shaky meter in the red are the same old nagging thoughts that plague any wanna-be author. What if the premise of the story isn’t as hot as I think it is? What if my characters are not properly defined, and my plots are actually juvenile, and tripe? Worse yet, what if my storytelling is boring?!

In a couple of days, I’ll find out.

Now, just for argument’s sake, let us suppose that the worse proves true. What then? Should I just chuck the whole mess, and start thinking about a career flipping burgers, or asking, “Do you want fries with that?”

Maybe. But, my gut reaction is, “OH, HELL NO!” No way am I going to blow an opportunity like this by turning belly up over some bad reviews. What I am going to do is learn from the experience, work on my weak areas, and take yet another running shot at it. Perhaps with a new story, if the current one is unsalvageable.

Does it bother me that I may have wasted three years on this particular story? A little. Still, it isn’t the end of the world. If the tale isn’t what I thought it was, at least I’ll know why, and that is worth its weight in gold to an aspiring writer.

All too often I’ve seen new writers who believe that their story is akin to the wealth of the Indies. They seem to pin all their hopes on a single story, and God help them if so much as a single sentence is looked upon in a negative light. Speaking for myself, this appears to be the most egotistical approach to writing that anyone could take. Just who are these people trying to please? The readership, or themselves?

If they are trying to please themselves, congratulations, they already succeeded. If they are trying to please a readership, I think they have a long hard road ahead of them.

It is true that you can not fill a cup which is already full. More often than not, this particular cup is full of itself. Hopefully, I can remain the kind of writer cum author who checks their ego at the door when it comes to the story. Fully knowing that not everything I put down to a word processor is genius.

All rambling aside, like anyone else, I’m hoping that the story will be well received. I certainly know that it isn’t perfect. Perfection is an impossibility. Yet, I would like to get as close as I can. At least I’m lucky enough to have a place where I can get plenty of feed back, and that is a good thing. 😀

I’ve two more days to polish the story a bit more, then comes the acid test.

Wish me luck, if you will.



14 responses to “Marathon Mania

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  1. I’m afraid these two days will drag out and feel like forever. I’m really looking forward to the same things you mentioned. Hoping everyone likes my chapter and they point out things that could be better without trashing it. Now you’ve made me nervous where I was confident.

    I’ll be working on my thick skin as Monday approaches.

    • In many ways nervous is good, Michelle. It let’s us know that we still have our feet on the ground.

      As long as we don’t let that feeling paralyze us, I think we’ll be OK. 😉

  2. I think you’ll be surprised how gentle everyone will be. I think we all have the same trepidation which makes us relate to others who are brave enough to post their work. But of course we’ll be honest because we want that in return. That’s the best you can do. Give the kind of critique you would want to get. But just the same: Good luck!

    P.S. A BIIIIIG thanks for linking to my blog. I’ve gotten viewers from it and that’s awesome! Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    • I was more than happy to link to your blog, Tansy. It’s a good blog.

      Marathon will certainly be interesting. I am hoping, though, that everyone will be as honest as I plan to be.

      As I’ve said, yet again, I can’t fix something if I don’t know it is broke. 😀

  3. Peter,

    Once again in your whimsical way you’ve hit the proverbial nail on the head. I’ve years invested in my manuscript. The fantasy month critique was great. I’m working on some of the things pointed out on chapter one.

    I too am looking forward to posting. I know the mistakes I’ve made with the story, too long, but I was writing a long story on purpose! So I hope to get some good crit partners, and some much needed advice on what to do to make this story marketable!

    You’ve managed to put into words what I’ve been feeling!

    Great job on making everyone nervous! 🙂

    • Muhahahahaha!

      If we weren’t nervous, we’d be in the ‘I is a excelent writer’ crowd. The one group I hope never to join. 😀

      Writing seems to be the only profession where you can waste years on something that has about as much chance to succeed as the Edsel. LOL!

      But, at least we have the chance to do good. 😉

  4. Tomorrow starts the BIG day, Gang!

    Good luck, and good storytelling to you all! 😀


  5. Good luck tomorrow Peter. As someone who survived last years marathon, I can say that the pro’s definitely outweigh the cons mentioned above. After 12 weeks of intense critiquing and compulsive polishing your chapters before the Monday posting deadline, you’ll find that you’ve evolved from the writer you were before the marathon. For me, it was the best experience and I had a blast.

    Wishing you a Happy Marathon:)

    • You can say that again, Angie.

      Today is the big day, and I’m raring to go.

      As it is my story evolved so much from the Fantasy month, and now its been polished even more preparing for Marathon.

      In many ways it surprises ME… and I’m the guy who wrote it! 😀

  6. Thank goodness you’ll be getting comments from people who are also nice and supportive and will probably tell you what they LOVE, even if they have criticism to offer! You are brave!

    And next year I’ll probably be feeling exactly the way you are right now.

  7. Well, boys and girls. It is now June the sixth. Marathon begins!

    Time for me to get over to AQC, and put my tailbone on the line. 😀

    So, as the Joker said, “And here we go!”


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