I've gotten spoiled, that's what it is, with nice short ideas that seem to crystallize neatly into nice little 100K books that only take a couple of months to get on paper. And now I have this monstrous THING on my hands....
I poked at "One-Eyed Jack and the Suicide King" yesterday, and maybe fixed it. A little. Or at least made it better. I like that story a lot, but it's one of the very-narrow-miss club, along with "Gone to Flowers" and "Wax" and "Los Empujaderos Furiosos" and a couple of others. The ones I suspect I either have right, and they haven't found the right market on the right day yet, or they're close enough that they may be fixable for a pro sale.
I shouldn't fret so. I already have as many sales this year as I did last year, although two of last year's sales were pro and this year's are all semipro so far.
And I reread The Sea Thy Mistress--got sucked in after sending it to a friend who hadn't seen it--and had the pleasant surprise of realizing that, even though it's a year old, it's not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. The sentence-level writing isn't really up to snuff, and it's maybe missing some things I would do now--but I also don't think I could fix it without turning it into a different book. Because it's very much of a style and from a period, and I don't think I could duplicate its sort of mosaiclike attack again.
I'd wind up with something more like Hammered, which has a mosaiclike structure as well, but it's a much tighter one. Sea is... impressionist, dreamy, pointillist. Unreal.
I couldn't do that again if I tried.
And I look at it now, and it looks like a sophomore effort. But not a bad one. Which really makes me very happy on two levels: One, my book doesn't suck. Two, I've learned enough since April of 2002 to realize where it falls short of what it could have been. So now I know that I can handle The Stratford Man.
And if the draft comes out flawed, I can fix it: I fixed Bridge of Blood & Iron where it was broke. I fixed Hammered when I didn't get it quite right the first time, and I know how to fix Scardown when its second pass is due.
And so I am at peace. And past my outrageous bout of being ridden by the suckmonkey a few weeks back, which is comforting, because the tortured artist oh I suck thing is awfully tiresome.
I know how to write books. I'm not even particularly bad at it. And I can write this book, too.
It will just take a little time.
So there, suckmonkey. Chew on that.