A new year, a new post. I do apologize for my lack of posting in the past few months. It really did take a hit on me when I found out one of my stories had been stolen and disseminated without my permission.
Sadly, nothing was done about it. The person who alerted me to it found it on a website that is, shall we say, not for the kiddies. The website, however, seems to have a very poor infrastructure, as there is no way to really search it. Not even the admins can search it. I spent as much time as I dared on it trying to discover the thief's identity, but so many stories get posted on that site that it was buried under hundreds of pages before I had a chance to even start looking. Plus, that website was certainly not my cup of tea.
So I will simply have to live with the fact that someone stole my story and that more of my writing is likely to be stolen as well. I normally would not be gung-ho for attention, but as an aspiring author, its part of the job description. We writers need to market and advertise ourselves. I'm not in the business of giving someone ELSE recognition for my own work. But there's very little I can do about it at this point, except to simply get over it and realize that the things I post on here WILL be stolen at some point.
That's not to say it doesn't irk me. That's not to say I will not go after a thief. It's to say I should expect it. I will not be posting my best on here (not that I ever did - to be honest these flashfiction pieces have been in dire need of editing).
However, I will return to posting on here. Short stories and updates, as per the norm, but perhaps not as many as I had been. There's a simple reason for that - time.
So I have two updates. The first is that I have, in my hands, a copy of the book I was published in as a contributing author. I have given 12 short pieces to this daily meditation guide, one per month. It is by Christian publisher Forward Movement, the Executive Director of which, Scott Gunn, I was fortunate enough to meet in person at church one day. He read my blog and got in touch with me about writing for this book, and I was truly honored to be chosen. I also was able to lead an adult forum at my church about my experience writing for "Meeting God Day By Day" and even got to sign a few copies. It gives me great hope to know that people like my writing, typos and all.
Just so you know, no, I was not paid a penny for this project. It was a contribution, a donation, and a chance to gain some small amount of recognition.
At this point, I'm not sure how much money I will ever make at writing, but anything is good at this point. I very much would love to be a professional author, to spend all day writing, to crank out a book every year or two, and to make a decent living off of it. But I do not need to, so I will not sacrifice quality for quantity.
The second update is that I am nearly finished with the first draft of my novel. For those of you who don't know my system (i.e. all of you), I call the first thing I hammer out (which is more of a placeholder) my "rough draft." I am not willing to let ANYONE see the rough draft. Not even the President. It is too rough, too unformed. I am not proud of it, because it is not meant to be something I am proud of. It is there as a starting point, to form the skeleton of the story upon which I will frame the meat in later drafts. The "first draft" is what I am willing to let people see after I have personally gone through and edited the entire novel for myself, taking into account the things I think are broken or wrong with it, the places where I feel it needs more or less. This I am not proud of. I'm scared every single time my critiquing group reads it because I think they will hate it (even though they usually love it). After it is complete (I have 5 chapters left), I will send it around to people I trust for critiquing. The second draft will take into consideration all of those initial critiques. Then I will search for another round of critiques. This third draft (or more, depending on how much work people feel it needs), final draft, is the one I would be proud of enough to send off to an agent or publisher. I want my first novel to make a good impression, to have as little editing needed as possible. After they critique and edit, we will come up with the "final version." Notice how this isn't a draft any longer. That is what I hope to get published.
So to say that I am "close to being done" is not entirely accurate. I have done the hard part - writing the novel. I am almost done with the harder part, editing the novel. I'm working on the even harder part, accepting critiques and editing further. Then I will have the hardest part - finding someone to actually publish the thing.
If all goes according to plan, by the end of this year I will be a published author.