I have no idea what I’m doing.

I am a man with a fantasy novel, and I have no idea what to do with it.  I didn’t intentionally seek to write this novel, its creation came about as a way to cope with quitting my role-playing addiction cold turkey.  I take my role-playing very seriously, to the point where the division between self and character starts to blur.  It screwed up my life, and it needed to go away, and so it did (for a while, but that’s a story for another time). But, as smokers know well, you just can’t quit and that’s it.  Addiction leaves a hole that demands to be filled.  So I filled that hole by writing.

The purpose of the writing was to fill a need, so I just wrote, and wrote, and wrote.  I didn’t really know what I was writing.  I knew how the story began and finished, but the middle was unknown.  I didn’t create a plot outline.  I didn’t think it through.  I just let characters write the story for me.  I dropped it after a while and put it on the back burner, then picked it up again, repeating this process many times.  It’s been nine or ten years now, and it reminds me of this classic exchange from Animal House:

 

For me, the opposite was true: At some point, I read through my manuscript, decided it was pretty good, and thought “maybe I should do something with this.”  So I went backwards, outlining the plot I already had.  I’ve since been trying to make it more coherent, make the scenes more compelling, trying to give it that “it” factor that a literary agent will latch on to and demand to see more.  It’s been very hard, and I admit I’m not sure if I’ve accomplished that.

I just put on the finishing touches, and decided that it is “good enough” to begin the process of “doing something with it.”  But what to do?  I know nothing about the publishing industry, and little about the fantasy genre (I was a D&D player as a kid, not a consumer of fantasy novels).  When in doubt, Google!

When I was searching for clarification of DAW’s (in my opinion) vague submission guidelines, I stumbled across a blog post by author Anna Kashina interviewing the submissions Editor for DAW.  Score!  However, further reading of her blog began to clue me in to the wider world of writing and publishing, and it is, frankly, an introvert’s nightmare.  I needed to “put myself out there.”

So, this WordPress blog, which I barely know how to use, is the beginning of me “putting myself out there.” If the site looks like crap, please accept my apologies.  It’ll get better when I figure it out.  If you’re also a clueless hobbyist writer, you may find value in following my infantile steps.  If you’re not, it could amuse you anyway.

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