Where Do We Go From Here?

I’m sure it won’t come as any surprise to those of you who follow my blog and my comments, but I am at a crossroads in my life. I’ve spent most of the past eight years learning to write, writing my four novels, studying the publishing industry, sending out query letters, dealing with hundreds of rejections, finally finding a publisher, preparing the books for publication, and then waiting for their release. Two of my novels have already been published and the other two will be published later this year — Daughter Am I in August and Light Bringer in November. Daughter Am I is in the proof stage right now, and I am doing the final edits of Light Bringer. (Have I mentioned how much I hate doing that? It’s the one phase of writing that I truly abhor — de-wasing the manuscript, getting rid of the justs and onlys, the ups and downs, and all the other extraneous words that only serve to dilute the story.)

Eventually though, the books will be put to rest — in readers’ hands, I hope. And then what? The overall theme for these four books has been public lies and hidden truths, but Light Bringer pulls it all together and kills the need to write any more on the topic. I do have another book in the works, which is about half finished. I thought I was writing a book about freedom vs. security, but it turns out that I write what I live, and so the book is really about change. Lots of changes. Perhaps the reason I haven’t been able to work on that particular manuscript is that I need to first rethink my journey as a writer and decide where to go from here.

Which brings me to tonight’s discussion. One thing I am rethinking is this group. Members come and go, though a few people have participated in most of the discussions. Considering the few participants recently, I’ve been wondering if I should disband the group, but the fact is, I still enjoy it. So, even if I end up monologuing, I will continue. But . . . should I restructure to make it more user friendly? Set it up at another time? Perhaps 7:30 to 8:30 pm ET? Change the focus of the discussions? We’ve talked about many different aspects of writing, but perhaps there are topics that you would like to discuss that we haven’t touched on. Perhaps you would like to post bits of writing for critiquing? (Though I have to tell you that I can’t really participate in such discussions — I no longer feel that I have the right to give my opinion about other people’s writing since I don’t follow the rules myself.) Also, I have become a bit self-conscious about asking people to host. It seems to be a bit of an imposition, especially since there are so few regulars. So do I continue doing that? Or do I post the discussions myself until someone volunteers?

Besides talking about where this group should go from here, let’s also talk about where we each will go from here. I know I’m not the only one at a crossroads. Some of you are getting published, others are doing the final revisions on their books or beginning the querying process. Still others are setting up new websites with a look to the future. Maybe together we can figure out the next step.

On Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 9:00 pm ET, the group No Whine, Just Champagne will discuss where we go from here, both as a group and as individuals. I hope you can make it. I’m interested in what you have to say. Everyone  is welcome to participate, and I hope you will!

Click here to join the live discussion: Where Do We Go From Here? If you prefer, you can leave your comments here on the blog. I would like to know where you are going.  

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9 Responses to “Where Do We Go From Here?”

  1. Jennifer Says:

    I am consistently learning as a writer. It is a never ending journey! I am considering going back to school to get my degree in English, so it can be of great help to my writing. I am a Children’s & YA author. Some good topics for discussion would be POV, show don’t tell, dialogue, narrative, etc… I am always dealing with these subjects and I find them to be a bit daunting at times.

    You’ve got a good thing going here. I just found out about it via Facebook. I would be interested in joining your group. There’s some really great stuff posted on your site. Thanks for sharing and happy writing to you!

  2. Kim Smith Says:

    Wow! I am so sorry Pat about being absent. I think summer is my worst time for participation in stuff. That is a puny excuse I know, but still.
    If you ever want to do a No Whine night on the radio show, we could sure do it. Just suggestions == hope you are well.

  3. Marian Youngblood Says:

    We haven’t known each other long, Pat, but I have the utmost respect and admiration for your plunging headlong into the stuff you have embraced (and achieved) over a mere eight years. If anything I wonder whether the speed/intensity with which you tackled a ‘new’ field is part of the question… but the spirituality of the question is what got me. We are being led right now, as a species, through a number of changes, gateways, new ways of being & doing and, they say, the most accelerated way to move forward is to ask of our Higher Self: well, friend, what now? It’s as if our Higher Self wants us to acquiesce, to become vulnerable to the openness of an unknown future, so s/he can lead us exactly along what we/she knows to be our best upward curve. So while I, too, am asking the question, I still have not received a firm or conclusive answer, except to believe that I am being groomed for a rôle even more exciting than one I’ve played till now. If this resonates with you & you can let yourself ‘hang’ for an hour or so, a day or so, a month or two, I bet you will find you ‘ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
    p.s. sorry I can’t stay up till 9p.m. EST &
    p.p.s. don’t stop; for heaven’s sake, don’t stop 🙂

  4. Joyce Norman Says:

    Pat, interesting blog. With the novel “Coming Together” coming out soon, I, too, have wondered, “Where to now?” However, no sooner had I thought this question then out pops the second thought, “Write that personal, challenging book you’ve always dreamed of writing but was afraid to dare.” Well, with four books under my belt, I can now dare to write this book and am anxiously awaiting getting down to work.

    So, in answer to your question, the above are my comments. Question for you: Are your other two books to be released in the fall…are they from Second Wind as well?

    Have a great day!

  5. Pat Bertram Says:

    Jennifer, I hope you do join the group! It should be fun.

    Kim, No Whine would love to do a radio show with you. BTW, I listened to your show when you interviewed Suzanne Francis. Very interesting.

    Marion, oddly enough, those are the very thoughts going through my mind! I’m interested to see where they take me.

    Joyce, yes. All four of my books will be published through Second Wind Publishing. I am very fortunate to have found a publisher who loves my writing!

  6. calebfox76 Says:

    I support Jennifer’s desire to talk about narrative, dialogue, showing vs. telling, and so on. Mentoring writers-in-progress, I find that these matters (and POV) are mysteries to them. I still battle every day, telling myself DRAMATIZE THE SCENE, don’t narrate it. Let’s talk about it–this is the craft part of fiction.

  7. Sheila Deeth Says:

    I missed the discussion again. Just wanted to congratulate you on the next two books. What a wonderful position to be in.

    Oh, and to thank you about the reminder to de-was my manuscript and my chapters. Thanks.

  8. Pat Bertram Says:

    Sheila, maybe I should have an online de-wasing party. Maybe it wouldn’t be so dreadful if I had company.

  9. knightofswords Says:

    The older I get, the less comfortable I am commenting on excerpts from people’s works in progress. Years ago when I was teaching college journalism, I felt drawn to teaching. But now, to offer a critique of something not yet finished feels presumptuous, similar to telling a person whether they’re handling their marriage properly or rearing their children acceptably. To critique a passage, even when asked, gives me a sense of being a therapist, for I have the greatest trouble separating the words from the writer and where they are at this moment. Tomorrow they may be somewhere else and then they will more naturally see whether the passage they would like to have critiqued needs changes or is ready to stand as written. I’m not sure whether such thoughts are my running from the responsibility of mentoring or embracing the creaturehood of the writer at the crossroads they have discovered and must navigate without hints.


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