I’m Always Surprised By My Past Self

I was editing today which means that I was looking at my ebook, which I self-published just before college. It’s a series of flash fiction stories and a few poems that are on my favorite topic: werewolves. My plan is to resubmit it once I’ve been able to make it better with the knowledge and ability I’ve gained from college.

This is something that I usually dread: looking back at my past work. It’s like that moment in a crime drama when you know they’re going to find the body and you know it’s going to be horribly mangled beyond recognition but they’re going to show it anyway because who cares about scaring people for life, amiright? As the camera pans over you brace yourself for the absolute worst. There’s an immediate cut away to character reactions: horror, disgust, fear. Then they go to the body so you can get a really good look at it. It’s the dread, though, that gets you. You know it’s not going to be good but you don’t know how not-good it’s going to be until you open the document and look at the tangled mess of garbage you wove before you knew how to properly put a sentence together.

But there are also those moments where they cut to the body and you’re like, “Oh. Oh, that’s not as bad as I thought it would be.” This is really what happens when I look at some of my past writing. It’s always a pleasant surprise when that happens.

I wrote most of the pieces for my ebook in late high school. I even submitted a bunch as a project for my creative writing class at that time. They’re definitely not fantastic, which is fine. I was expecting to have a lot of grammar to edit and a million typos to deal with. But, line by line, I wasn’t bad. I haven’t found any crazy grammar errors or any real problems with the plots of the stories either. The characters are pretty flat but they are flash fiction (not an excuse but it’s understandable that my less-experienced-self sacrificed character to keep the length down).

I’m still trying to decide if it’s easier to deal with grammar problems or character problems. I knew that there was going to be an issue with the stories feeling the same because they all have the same topic and while they deal with different aspects, many rehash what others already said. I haven’t finished editing, or even reading through, all of it yet but I can already see similarities (thus, the same mistakes) in the stories I’ve read so far. Right now, I’m just going through for grammar. It’s going pretty fast but I worry that when I go through for character and plot that it’s going to be a lot. I’m glad that I’ve gotten over my fear of making flash fiction “too long.” Most of the stories are only two pages right now and flash can be quite a bit longer than that (if I learned anything about word count in college it’s that no one agrees on what word count means for whether to call a piece flash or a short story). The most difficult thing, I think, will be to create the characters individually in my head. It’s not that they’re going to need complex backgrounds but I have a ton of characters in a ton of different worlds and each of them needs to be unique.

While this may be a big undertaking, I really do feel up to the challenge. My grace period is almost a month down right now and I need to get this done so I can start promoting it and make some money before I have to start paying off all those pesky student loans. This may be the motivation of panic and sadness but it’s motivation nonetheless and that’s really all I need.

One day, I’ll be a known author. I want to be known but not super famous. There’s a sweet spot in fame where you can be known by many but not bombarded by people. I like to think I can get there by starting with this ebook.




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