Cleaning Up With Heat and Self Doubt

Not much to report here. We've been coping with the humidity and pushing ourselves to paint the front foyer and clean up the house in anticipation of a visit from Erin's father and step-mother. Erin's nearly recovered from the strep-throat (the test results came in and confirmed what we already knew), so the week is steadily improving.

I'm also closing in on the first draft of Fathom Five. The climax is taking shape and after that it only needs the aftermath and a few linking scenes before I can claim that the story is done (pending editing).

Fathom Five feels very different from Rosemary and Time. Rosemary and Time just roared across the pages (pending an additional six months of edits) and I had no question of where the story was going and few questions about how to get there. For Fathom Five, I wonder if the climax is compelling enough, and if the character concerns are enough to sustain this story. Are these doubts because Fathom Five is subtler and more ambitious, or is it because it's just not good? I need an objective opinion, and I can't get one until the story is complete. Without this objective opinion, it's a strain to finish the story. And on and on and on...

This is just one example of the hell that writers put themselves through. And I'm not usually one for self flagellation. Erin constantly questions her own fiction, and she's one of the best prose writers I know.

But I guess she could hardly consider my opinion an objective one.

The completion of the first draft of Fathom Five comes at a good time, as the time has come to lay out the Trenchcoat Farewell Project. After two years, it's time to finish this baby. It looks as though five stories may have to go without illustrations, and two, possibly three, stories will be incomplete, but it's much more than we were hoping for when we started.

The Trenchcoat Farewell Project will be my last major Doctor Who fan project. I can feel it. It's a worthy marker of the passing of fifteen years of my life, when my writing effort was solely occupied in Doctor Who fan fiction.

If you ever want to get serious about writing, you have to be willing to write just for the fun of it. For that, fan fiction is one of the best ways to get yourself into practice. I'd call fan fiction the "training wheels" of fiction writing, were it not for the fact that the "training wheels" is inherently an inferior and immature image, whereas fan fiction is anything but. Fan fiction gives you a universe to play in, with a set of characters and settings to draw upon, doing some of the set-up work for you in crafting a story, while allowing you to practice characterization, dialogue, narrative and plot. In most cases, fan fiction also gives you a small audience, with feedback, and that's better than writing in the dark for an audience of one.

Though I am proud that I've been able to expand my horizons and create my own setting and characters to populate it, I still have to say that if I ever get published, Doctor Who helped me do it. Thanks, Doctor!

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