Having an agent interested in my writing is a momentous step. Any writer would be excited to have the door open that tiny crack for them. In fact it is common thinking (and I have thought this myself) “If only I could get an agent’s attention, things would be that much easier.”
I am one of those writers that holds his writing to impossible standards. And why would I do such a thing? Quite simply, to keep it fresh, to keep striving to be better, and ultimately, for the challenge. For this, I use my own version of The Litmus Test.
OK, so the Litmus Test actual is a measurement for pH-a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution. How, you may ask, does that apply to writing? Well, the term Litmus Test has been used not just for its intended purpose, but also as a general term for benchmark of sorts. For example, does what you are doing ‘cut the mustard’ or, pass the Litmus Test. See?
Saturday’s WCDR Breakfast hosted Historical fiction author, actress, and teacher, Barbara Kyle. While Historical fiction isn’t a genre that grabs my reading attention, it doesn’t mean I think less of it or that, as a horror/gothic/dark fantasy/sci-fi writer, I won’t learn anything from it. Quite the opposite in fact. I came to the realization, through the course of Barbara’s presentation, that I do, in fact, write historical fiction as well.
The things I used to like, I don’t like any more,
I want a lot of other things I’ve never had before,
It’s just like my mamma says, I sit around and mourn
Pretending that I am so wonderful and knowing I’m adored
I’m as restless as a willow in a windstorm,
I’m as jumpy as a puppet on a string,
I’d say that I had spring fever,
But I know it isn’t spring.
Nina Simone, It Might as Well Be Spring, 1945
Spring has always been touted as the season of change. It is, after all, the transition from winter to summer, a rebirth, so to speak. I am predisposed to thinking that way as my birthday falls therein. As such, it is my favourite season. Now that’s not say I don’t like the other seasons, I do. They all have their own merits. There is no bad season, in my books. Let’s face it, I like the change from one to the other.
As you may, or may not, know, I am a Gatsby fan. Or rather, I am a fan of F. Scott Fitzgerald, but never, ever should I use him as a comparison in a pitch letter. Or so I’ve been told by someone who supposedly knows these things.
But I digress.
A long time ago, read three years, The Great Gatsby was assigned as required reading for a writer’s conference I was attending. Not high school, a writer’s conference. At first I kind of struggled through the story. It was a bit slow, but seeing 1920’s New York through the eyes of an author that lived it, kept me going. When I finished the book, my initial reaction was…meh. It was alright. For a decorated classic, I found it lacking.
I am sitting here, keys clacking, words stacking as the strains of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen fill the room. Why, you ask, am I listening to Christmas music when the season is done? Because, for someone that writes Christmas stories with a classic bent, Christmas never ends.
I am hard at work on my second Christmas book. A little lighter tale with not so much history. Okay, there is history in it, but the story is a bit more fun and not so melancholy as The Good King.