Posted: March 28, 2022 in writing
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I find myself at a crossroads with my writing. Three options, three projects lay before me. Likely, I will eventually pursue all three, but each are deep and labor-intensive. I need to decide where to allocate my energy. I need to determine priority and select a focus.

The Not-Done Novel

After Followers, I quickly completed a new novel. And, for the first time, the story was not in the horror genre. Problematically, that left me completely disorientated on genre.

I drafted the book, revised it, worked it through beta readers, polished it. Then I decided it would be the first book I would query to agents to get published.

I got rejected by 50 agents. (Ouch.)

Clearly, something was wrong with the submission–either the query or the story, or both.

I decided the best way to troubleshoot would be to engage an editor, which, in hindsight, I honestly should have done before querying. I have worked with editors during the publication of all of my previous novels. However, this was my first editing experience pre-publishing contract.

The editor’s decimated the book I thought I was complete (a whole other post on that). To summarize: rewrite. Now, I am left with substantial substantive changes to make.

These proposed modifications present me with the opportunity to return to the world I built and the characters I created. I loved living in them during the initial creation and edits. I could break apart my story and puzzle the pieces into a new configuration. While daunting, I am inspired and challenged by some of these possibilities.

Ideas are perculating.

The Therapy Project

Last NaNoWriMo, I ventured into fan fiction to resuscitate my love for writing. I was able to locate my spark and also complete a short novel in the Scream universe.

The story remains where I left it after the sprinting first draft, so it is still quite raw. But now, what to do with it?

There will never be any formal publication. Do I let it wither and die in a file in some subfolder on my hard drive? Do I give it a polish and post it in serials on my blog?

My inclination is, of course, to release it. To do so, I would need time to clean it up and prepare it, especially through the lens of the latest chapter in the movie franchise. I also would love to have some art to post with it.

The Shiny New Toy

Shiny! So shiny. The new project is usually the most seductive and compelling.

I wrote about Scream in November to loosen my inspiration after all the rejection of my new novel (and life drama). It worked, and a new story idea surfaced between my lumpy grey lobes.

I have been massaging this story slowly over the past few months. Outlining and throwing down words when I feel like it. No pressure compared to how I usually work.

The story is not pouring out of me like some are want to do (Savages, “Freaks”, some of The Rest Will Come, “Malignant”, “Santa’s Workshop”…). However, it does take shape and flow nicely once I hit my stride. I am straddling between a planned outline and winging it. I know where I want to go, and the details are sharpening as I meander through the scenes.

I am allowing myself to establish the foundation in a broad stroke before painting in the finer points. This is how it always works, yet I am being more deliberate about skimming through the first pass this time, getting the basics established to build on. We will see how the strategy plays out.

The writing has been no pressure and pleasant. I enjoy building the world and forming the characters. Writing fresh is always my favorite part of the process. Obviously, this is the most appealing option, so equally obviously, it is the one least advantageous to pursue first.

The Direction

So which way to go? The arduous journey of reworking an entire book? The stalling edit that would yield a series of blog posts? The fresh and new story just getting started?

My heart, speaking based on what I enjoy the most, would say 1. new story, 2. fan fiction posts, 3. novel rewrite. However, my brain, considering what would be smartest and most productive or advantageous would say the complete opposite.

I think I have settled on the following (tentative) plan as a compromise, favoring the pragmatic brain:

  • Get to the next milestone in the new story
  • Outline the restructure of the rewrite novel
  • Restructure the rewrite novel and write new scenes
  • While rewrite novel cools, edit fan fiction novel
  • Post fan fiction novel
  • Edit rewrite novel
  • Return to new story

I get a little of everything I want and continue moving forward. Will it work? Maybe. Will I stick to the plan? Maybe not. But it is worth a try. It is better to have three options than none.

Christina Bergling

Like my writing? Check out my books!

  • Followers – You never know who is on the other side of the screen. Followers is a mystery and thriller that blends women’s fiction with horror.
  • The Rest Will Come – Online dating would drive anyone to murder, especially Emma.
  • Savages – Two survivors search the ruins for the last strain of humanity. Until the discovery of a baby changes everything.
  • The Waning – Locked in a cage, Beatrix must survive to escape or be broken completely.
  • Screechers – Mutant monsters and humans collide in the apocalyptic fallout of a burned world. Co-authored with Kevin J. Kennedy.
  • Horror Anthologies
  1. Sounds like you’ve got a plan. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can appreciate your position; I’ve been at a crossroads until recently. Maybe after you’ve moved all your projects a little bit forward as you have planned, you’ll have some clarity on which one to prioritize. The good thing, though, is that all your projects lead towards the same goal, your creative writing, no matter which one you eventually decide to give individual focus, first. Perhaps, add some fun too by eliminating self-imposed deadlines, if there are any. All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

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