Friday, June 15, 2018

Mirror // The Comparison Vacuum (and a Hiatus notice)

Ever since the Fall, man has been comparing himself to others, finding himself jealous or arrogant, and in a battle to get himself back on top—or even more on the top. We have this urge to climb, climb, climb, even when there's nothing up top. 

We want to win. At least, I've never loved losing. 

Most of the time, stories are the ones telling us about power vacuums. Novels, movies, history.

But today, I’m not focusing on power vacuums or evil plots to get the crown on some evil lord’s head. Actually, I’m going to address our form of comparison and how we’re the ones looking at a mirror and saying we’re not good enough. And why we need to stop.

Ever looked at a mirror? A photo of yourself, and said something you’d probably never say to someone else in your entire life? 

Stop it.

Every time we look into our shattered mirrors, seeing someone else who’s broken on the other side, and we try to make ourselves like what we see, then we’re just breaking ourselves. This is not who we are, that person in the shattered mirror.

Because how we perceive things is tainted. Our vision of what is good or bad is judged by what the world is currently showing us. And because of the Fall, what we all think is blurred by our sin. 

If we look at our shattered mirrors, we can't see past anything else but supposed flaws, whether external or internal. For years, we’ve been depending on the glassy doorways on our walls to tell us we’re the most beautiful in the land.

But sometimes, it’s important to step aside from the rose-tainted glasses and see ourselves aside. God never says, “If you are not the most popular person at class or work, then too bad. Goodbye. Never knew you.”

If He says that then I was dead a long time ago.

But he does say, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Heavy laden?

Who tells us that we’re not pretty? Who tells us that we’re broken, no one wants to be our friend? Who tells us we’ll never amount to anything?

I guarantee you it’s not Him who loves us that tells us we're nothing. 

Now this isn't to say that we aren't sinners. That we need to go around acting like perfect people all the time. TBH, we're not that either. But if we've been accepted into Christ's kingdom, then don't let us compare ourselves to something broken.

Let's compare ourselves to Christ. Make Christ our mirror so that we can look like Him. Beautiful, radiant king. 

It’s not an easy fix to take down a shattered mirror, but completely necessary. If there's one thing we can depend on, however, it is Christ's knowledge of who we are. The One who made us knows more about us than we know about ourselves.

The only person we ever should compare ourselves to is Christ, the only example of perfection ever to touch this Creation. The only person’s opinion we need to worry about is Christ’s, who has the only pair of perfect eyes.

This is perfect, unbiased perception.

He knows what He made. He knew what he was doing when He wrote beautiful names in the Book of Life. We only need to see Him and go to Him. Understanding we’re already shattered, God will put us back together again.

Instead of watching the other shattered people walking the earth, instead of comparing ourselves to something that is already broken, we must compare ourselves to Christ.

Never to condemn ourselves. But to be convicted. To want to make a change toward the Cross. We see brokenness, so does He. But this is brokenness that only He knows how to fix.

“You are fearfully and wonderfully made.”

And now the Hiatus notice. XD Completely unrelated to this post, though I hope you enjoyed it anyway.

So I won't be here next Friday or the Friday after that, then I'll be back for Camp NaNo. I'll still see your comments and your blog posts and whatnot, I just wont be able to make a post of my own. And if you need to get in touch with me, feel free to use the contact form.

So what are your opinions on this? 
How does comparison affect us? 
As writers? As people?
Thank you all and have a great weekend!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Game Plan // Bring It, Traditional Publishing

The first thing I like to tell people about me is my name. 

The second thing I like to tell people is my hobby / life's work / which is only 4 years of life / but will probably keep going forever / writing. Writing is everything. But as I'm working on my fourth novel, I think it's time I tried to publish something. 

After all ... why not? I'm only trying to become an author. 

Sorry, Spidey-Guy, but it's a bit more complex than that.
But there's also a whole lot of other things I have to do to get there. I have my plan, my deadline, and I'm bringing my A-Game. Here's how it's going to work. 

Editing is up first. I've already made it past my first four/five rounds of edits. I lost track around four. After this, I'm going to send it to an editor. 

Little note about editors. They cost a lot of money. 

Like, I'm talking anywhere from 1k - 3k a lot. While it's recommended to hire an editor, it's even more recommended to find a reputable one. And I'm not going to pay 3k to get my book edited. That's why I know a person who knows a person who can edit my book for slightly cheaper. 

Summer is the time to find money. I'll be right back after searching the city streets for lucky pennies. 

Querying is a far more complex process. Query letters are the face of me, my book and everything I hope to stand for for the rest of my life. One mistake can ruin that publishing house for me. I mean, agents receive hundreds of query letters a month, and only accept a select few that might make money in the future.

That slush pile, as they call it, is a majority of letters to be forgotten. Which is why the query letter is what my book is weighing on. 

I'll take my chances.

But before I can even begin to write query letters, I need to research agents. Several ways to do this: writer's digest often has listings of agents currently looking. Then there's going through the acknowledgements of books to find agents. Then there's the internet. 

Once I narrow it down to a list of possible agents, I write the query letters and send them off. Only, all of that is after I've written the book proposal. Because, if by some insane chance that the agent happens to accept my book, they'll ask for an example of my novel (hence the completeness required) and a full book proposal (hence the next thing).

The book proposal I already have a draft of. It took me a week or two to write and it could still use some polishing, but I have some writer friends who were kind enough to lend me samples of theirs that I could base mine from. Highly recommend looking at samples before going to write yours.

The book proposal represents my book, characters, plot, message, statistics, future plans and introduces me, who I am, what I've done that looks impressive, and what I'm willing to do to promote my book. And also how to contact me. 

We's the same, Thor.

I'm not even going to talk about the synopsis, the three page scene-by-scene description of my book. 

As mentioned in previous posts, my book is meant to be expanded into a trilogy. Best to have a plan for the rest of those books too.

Sector One is currently in it's final editing stages and will be the first book. Right now, it's about 85,000 words and shrinking (I hope. The less words is the less money I have to pay to get it edited). It should be ready to send out by August. 

Sector One 2 is a 100,000 word rough draft. I've not touched it at all. I haven't even read it since it was written. That one I know is going to require a lot of work, but I know what I have to do. At least 20,000 of that can be cut because it focuses on the side characters.

Side character remain side characters. They cannot become main characters. 

And Sector One 3 is currently being written. I'm 65,000 words in ... although I regret to say I'm probably only halfway through. *headdesk* Why? 

Save yourself the pain. 120,000 words when you aim for 80,000 is not a good thing.

Nasty little side characters. So hopefully I can get through another 60,000 words this summer and be done with writing the trilogy. 

In the end, though, I can aim to send out queries by August. I can aim to finish my trilogy this summer. I can aim to be accepted by a publishing house before I start college. But it's important to bear in mind that all this is according to the Lord's will and the Lord's timing. 

But for now, I only need to wait and keep moving onward.

Besides, there's only one way to contact me right now.

Anyway, that's my plan for publishing. Do all those things. By August, I hope to have sent out those queries. By September, have started a new novel and begun editing Sector One 2. We'll see how long it takes for me to get accepted. 

Wish me luck. 
Are you writing a novel?
Are you planning on publishing anything? 
Indie or trad?
Have a great weekend, everyone!