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Thoughts on Finishing

Hello, dears,

Thought I’d write an actual journal entry this time, viewable by the actual public, in an effort to make sense of all my thoughts and feelings on finishing the new story. Have posted the same thing on DA (with slight allowances for DA readers probably not knowing that there is a new story, here: http://ls269.deviantart.com/journal/Not-too-Shabby-447003077). First of all, I should say a massive thank you to the three amazing readers who stuck with me all the way through - and that, if this journal seems irritable in places, the irritability is in no way directed at you, because I totally couldn't have got this far without you!

Anyway, it’s been weird. The contrast between finishing this and finishing Sympathetic Magic is pretty alarming. The contrast between the 61 comments I received for the last chapter of SM and the zero comments I received when I posted a chapter from the new story on DeviantArt is pretty disheartening. But I’ve fought through all this and finished a story that I love, and that’s the most important thing.

And you know what? I don’t think I could have done otherwise. There were all these images in my head, and I had to communicate them. Probably everyone feels this way about the things they love, and the things they want to do. And probably most people have to pursue their dreams without any encouragement at all. I was very lucky the first time – I was lucky that people found something they could identify with in Sympathetic Magic.

But, whether lucky or not, I have to go on writing. I can’t choose not to. They key – and it’s not easy for a neurotic girl like me, but I can see it clearly, in theory, in my head – is to wrap up that lucky moment and keep it with me, and never use it to belittle my new work by comparison.  I’ll always take it with me, the kindness and encouragement I had from my DA readers, and I’ll try to use it keep myself going rather than shut myself down.

In rational moments, that seems like the most logical thing in the world. Is a good thing less good because it’s gone? Of course not. You should treasure good things from the past, and never use them to devalue the present.

Now, having said all that, I should add that I don’t have many rational moments. But – and here is the key to fighting depression, for me – I can remember that there were rational moments. If you know that it’s possible to be another way – to think about things differently – then you know that despair doesn’t cover everything. It doesn’t stretch from horizon to horizon, reach back into the past, and discolour the future. It seems like it does, but it doesn’t. It’s temporary, just like everything else. If something is always recurring, then it’s also always leaving.

It helps me to remember that. Plus, all this rejection will be good practice for the inevitable and persistent rejection I’m bound to receive from agents and publishers. So I’m bitter but grateful, pessimistic but hopeful, and I hope that all makes sense.

Well, after all that, I’m sure you’re just dying to hear what the story is about. I always find that a difficult question to answer, because all my stories start off with the characters, and the plot is just something that sweeps along after them, as if they’re all wearing long, billowy cloaks.  I once asked a reader what he thought Sympathetic Magic was about, and he said it was about despair, and how it’s always wrong to give in to it, no matter how tempted you might be.

Curiously enough, this new story is also partly about despair, although I can’t say I’ve come down so unequivocally on the side of not despairing this time. My stories are always the places where I work out issues like these, but, maybe because my life has taken a darker turn since SM, this story is a lot darker, and finding real, substantial hope is a lot harder. Not impossible, though. There’s always love in my worlds. A lot of the time, love makes things worse for the characters, but it’s always their redemption, as well as – in a few cases – their downfall.

So here’s how I’m describing the story at the moment: It’s a love-story-mystery, set in Victorian Oxford – very steampunk, very gothic. It’s about a man who’s taken a magic potion to forget the woman he loves, and then meets her again – as a quiet, nervous little stranger, who feels no inclination to talk about their past. As the action unfolds – and via a series of flashbacks that intersperse the story – both he and the reader piece together who this mysterious woman is, what she’s running from, and why he chose to forget her. It’s set in a variety of longingly-described locations – from Edinburgh to India – and has a core of ineffectual, English sweetness, despite all the dark events.

So, anyway, that’s pretty much all my news (except for the depressing, realistic stuff, like mortgages, lack of job security, lack of baby, or any hope of ever having a baby. That stuff underpins pretty much all of the above, but doesn’t really need to be gone into right now).

I should say sorry for not being on DA much, and for being a bit slack about contacting old friends – I just figured you wouldn’t want to hear about all the grim, grey, gruesome stuff. Don’t know why I’ve changed my mind now. I should probably apologize for that too.
At least there’s something positive to add now. I wrote a book. It’s 350,000 freakin’ words – it’s about characters I love – and I loved writing it. That’s not too shabby, as comforts go.

Lots of love,



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Apr. 13th, 2014 10:07 am (UTC)
:hug: :hug: :hug: (see what I mean? It's just not the same as the good old DA emoticon!)

Thanks, dear - please don't say you've been insensitive ass - you've always been an awesome friend to me!
Apr. 13th, 2014 11:06 am (UTC)
You did great! Never doubt it!
Apr. 14th, 2014 06:07 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :hug: :hug: :hug:
Apr. 13th, 2014 11:16 am (UTC)
You could perhaps add a link in a sticky post (that is, to stick at the top of the journal) with a chapter index, or if it's too much work with so many chapters, with a link to the first chapter, in case anyone wants to catch up...
Apr. 14th, 2014 06:08 pm (UTC)
Very good idea - will give it a try tonight (if the number of chapters don't defeat me!)
Jun. 12th, 2014 05:40 am (UTC)
I'm so happy for you! I was just thinking today how I needed to catch up on your new story. Things have been so busy lately. I hope you are plagued with other new ideas (that can also become books). You have a great gift with words, so keep exercising it :)
Jun. 12th, 2014 08:53 pm (UTC)
Re: Congrats!
Thank you! I actually have a whole volume 2 still to write, but I've made a start already, and I'm really enjoying it. Hope you find some time to catch up with the story - if you do, please let me know what you think,

Thanks again,

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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