The Crime Writers Association Debut Dagger shortlist has been announced – http://www.thecwa.co.uk/daggers/2012/index.html – and I didn’t make it into the chosen few.
Am I surprised and dejected at what at first felt like rejection when I was desperate for recognition? Part of me is – the part that thought Spiral of Hooves had been honed into a version worth entering into the Debut Dagger competition back in January. But now I’m seeing flaws everywhere: from the sport background creeping into the foreground which creates a mid-novel slump, to the 2012 setting when events in my story have been rained off in reality. Plus there could be other things IF I do yet another rewrite.
Moral: Keep the main plot focused and the sub-plots in the background.
Do I want to do another revision after 12 years of working on the same story? My mind has moved on to other plots that are already drafted, like Wyrm Bait which I have just re-read and done the ‘Overview’ edit of. Will tinkering with Spiral of Hooves rescue what is the result of listening to too much advice and making changes that play to critics’ whims? The original story is in there somewhere, but I’m no longer sure where.
Moral: Learn to recognise constructive criticism and ignore everything else.
Do I count the first novel as experience and just move on? I could just resign myself to doing one final edit, an attempt to remove the worst offences and then self-publish in a minor way. I have a low-key strategy that would be more about developing my platform than about selling books worldwide. However for those who need to know what my first novel is like, it will at least exist in more than a bottom drawer.
Moral: The bottom drawer is for work in progress.
What do you think as one of my readers and as a fellow writer? Am I giving up too easily or is the idea dying along with my enthusiasm? Constructive criticism and advice invite here.
Of course I could burn the offending manuscript like Robert Louis Stevenson and from the ashes a phoenix would rise…. However I’m ready to move on and work on one of the newer fresher stories already alive and trying to fly.
And yes, I want recognition for what I’ve done but my wife already gives me that – then there was yesterday. We went to the Horse Trials that I revived in 2005 at Borde Hill with the help of a knowledgeable friend. Due to my MS I handed the reins to a new team of organiser at the end of 2009 but was made the President. Sitting with my First Lady having lunch we were joined by various officials including the British Eventing CEO. In things said there was recognition for what I had achieved as an event organiser; also reflected in a silver salver that I received in 2008 from BE for everything I had done over 14 years in the sport.
So I’ve got recognition and the writing will follow suit.