Three years ago, I signed up to have my trilogy “traditionally” published.
Not traditionally as in one of the major, well-known publishing houses but a small press publisher who, at the time, only had a couple other authors on their roster, not counting those who had submitted short stories for their anthologies, which were actually the flagstone of their business. The executives of this press had been privy to the creation of my story and characters and felt like I was creating something they wanted to represent.
Fast forward three years and I haven’t finished a thing since the third book in that trilogy. I can’t. I just keep getting in my own way, criticizing the original trilogy, trying to find opportunities for improvement. As a result, I have compiled quite a wish list of things I want from and included in this next book [series].
- More humor but also more darkness for contrast
- Better mystery/better clues
- Higher stakes for all characters
- Tighter story telling
And the thing is none of these things were a concern of mine until publishing this trilogy. And it’s not even because someone criticized what I had already written. No one has told me my trilogy is bad. No one has said I should have done this or should have done that. No one has said much of anything, actually, and maybe that’s the problem.
Whatever it is, is paralyzing. I can’t write because I have set up too many hurdles for myself to jump, to many mountains to conquer. I am so accustomed to writing a publication-ready (though it could be better) draft on the first go that I don’t know how not to. And not knowing how to jump all these hurdles—without tripping—on the first go has made it impossible to even approach the starting line.