Stuck in a Rut

I’m in kind of an unusual rut right now with my novels. I “finished” the first book in my planned series a few months ago. Since then I’ve been working on book 2, and have written about half of its projected overall length. Unfortunately, that half is the beginning, which is confusing and spotty, and the end, which is inconsistent with the beginning. I’m missing the entire middle half of the book.

Since working on the second one, I’ve also come to think the first book is crap and needs some hefty work done on it. This might just be me being negative, but I want my books to be genuinely good, not just good enough. Unfortunately, I’m comparing myself to great writers.

With the recent purchase of the Kindle, I’ve sampled some self-published e-books. The first one I’ve looked at was terrible. Okay story, but it read like it was written by a high schooler. That is what I fear producing. I think my writing was significantly better, and my wife backed me up. Ironically, feeling my writing was better than a relatively successful e-book (I’ve talked to the author and he’s sold a few thousand copies), just made me feel worse about the overall state of the book. I want it to be perfect, which is the worst trap a writer can fall into.

One thing this has done, is gotten me thinking about short stories. I wrote one a month ago that I submitted to some sci-fi magazines. It got rejected from one and no response yet from the other. But this week I’ve written two more. I’m considering either submitting those, or doing an short story anthology as an e-book while I continue to work on the novels. Something to get my name out there, and see how well an unknown can sell.

I’ve got three stories so far, and figure I need at least 10 to give it a try. But part of me thinks I’m just avoiding working on my novels. In away I am. But maybe this will be a good thing.

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One Response to Stuck in a Rut

  1. Tamarynn says:

    I think writing short stories is a great idea. A lot of well known authors in fantasy or sci-fi settings get their start that way. Being an author is incredibly hard, especially when you lose focus. You can’t force it upon yourself, you’ll just end up with subpar work and won’t be happy. A suggestion is to make an outline or flow chart of ideas. It isn’t something you have to commit to, but something you can add on when an idea strikes. When you are finally ready you can look it all over and see what works best.

    Taking a break from the novel to work on stories is also a great way to help you improve your work. You’ll be able to get more criticism (look beyond immediate family, as they are prone to be biased), as well as work on your style.