As the Prairie Chicks blog is preparing to close up shop, I’ve been looking back over the last ten months of blogging with the Chicks to evaluate what I have learned from my experience. When I started, I was new to the world of “web presence”, and blogging was a completely different universe. It was so exciting, connecting with like minded writers, to practice writing in a more public platform, and to be part of something that required teamwork.
During those nine months, I’ve learned to put together a short story at the drop of a hat as I continued to write my novel, worked a full-time job, and held together a family life. Sometimes things went smoothly, and sometimes they didn’t.
I’ve learned so much hanging out with the Chicks. The articles written on this blog have inspired me, informed me, and made me laugh. From the minute details, like Karyn’s article on That, to the fantastic worldbuilding series by Hayley, every time I hang out with the Chicks, I leave with a new perspective.
My writing has evolved dramatically, and I know much of the evolution is due to what I have gleaned from hanging out here. I have finally overcome my learning deviation when it came to Show don’t Tell. I finally get it! Here’s an example:
As we walked back to our vehicles, I numbly, confusedly contemplated what happened. I realized I needed to be clear about my relationship status.
"I have a boyfriend, Mahlon, I thought you should know that," I said as he walked me to my car.
"I know," He said nonchalantly. I wondered how he knew. "But, sometimes boyfriends come and go, Sarah." He turned to me to smile that sly, wicked smile I would soon to come to love, totally unconcerned about how arrogant he sounded. I was livid that he would be so presumptuous. He noticed my reaction, and flashed a brazenly confident smile, then turned on his heel, and strode away. I stood for a few minutes, shaking my head, smiling at the brash, conceited, yet intriguing young man who had just held my face so close I could smell the sweet ice cream smell of his breath.
You are far too interested for your own good, Sarah.
Mahlon let go of my face, but held my gaze. “Your eyes are so cool,” he added with a wink. Guilt slid through my mind as I realized how bad I had wanted him to kiss me.
“I have a boyfriend, Mahlon,” I whispered. “I thought you should know that.”
“I know,” he said with a shrug.
“Yeah. I know.” He flashed a brazen grin. “The question is—do I care? No. Not so much.” He turned on his heel and as he strode away he called over his shoulder. “I’ll be back for the equipment later.”
Okay, maybe I don't totally get it, but it's coming, isn't it?
My attitude has evolved dramatically as well. I’m no longer the bright-eyed and bushy-tailed dreamer I was when I showed up on scene in January. Now, I’m firmly rooted in the reality of this business, and I only occasionally indulge in imagining my hordes of fans chanting my name at Comicon.
My YA novel, Indigo Blaze, has been re-written, slashed and hacked, added to so the word count soared upward of 140,000 words, and then rendered down to 96,000 again. I hired an editor to tear it apart, and then I put it back together. I’ve had it out on query for about three months, had six requests, but no offers yet. Currently, I’m tweaking it for an adult audience and have completely re-written the first three chapters again.
What I do know of this experience is that perhaps my query is decent, but my writing still needs some work. I’ve only been at this writing business for two years, and when I reflect on that, I realize how short a time that is to learn a new profession. It took me eight years of university to be qualified for the job I have, so what would make me think it would be any different for writing?