Update on Outline, Thoughts about Publishing

I’ve outlined through chapter 10 in the new version of Substance of Shadows. It looks like 2 chapters will have to be pretty new, and the rest are actually revisable. This should get us through Esme and Errol’s trials. I’m all about preserving the feel of the first book. I’ve come up with some replacement characters that I think will make the plot work very nicely, and I’m looking forward to writing scary old Aunt Isolde. So, tonight my goal will be to add new comments to chapters 1-3, that I’ve received from the workshop, and if there’s time, begin working in earnest on chapter 4. So, I’m on the up of the roller coaster of the writing process at the moment.

I’m craving some recognition for my work, and of course, I won’t be getting it any time soon. 🙂 Writing is a lonely business, one that you need to be intrinsically motivated for if you’re trying to publish.

Fan fiction on the other hand is a primarily social activity with a great deal of immediate feedback and satisfaction–at least that was my experience. I know I’m looking forward to all kinds of rejection as soon as the book is out there. I know that the Klarion story is a good one, and you know it’s a good one, but is it a marketable one? Will some editor, publisher, or agent have faith in it?

It’s not my place to spin gloom and doom for myself. I know that I will get published, and I know that I’m a good writer. I also know that statistically speaking, it takes 10 years or so of submitting work to get your first book published. It takes targetting, self-promotion, lots of hard work. I’m in for a lot of lonely, hard work, most likely. That’s the thing that made me wait to write until I had a secure day job, a PhD in hand, a retirement income and a place to live. I’m not relying on my writing to make my money. It probably won’t ever be able to support me. Sometimes you wonder why you might try to sell your writing at all. Well, I think other people might enjoy these stories too.

Where does that leave me in the meantime? I still have some fans and some people interested in what I’m doing. I get feedback. I miss gushing. Once I leave the Klarions behind, I won’t have the reputation I’ve built up for the last few years. My talent may get me an in that my hardwork won’t, but mostly my hardwork will be required before anyone notices my talent. Is this unfair? Nope, it’s realistic.

I guess I’m not feeling exactly gloomy. I guess I’m feeling like my chances are slim, even though my work is good. I also guess that I’m feeling like I did when I worked on my doctorate…sure it takes wit,intelligence, and talent, but most of all it takes hard work, perserverance, and patience. It also takes belief in yourself. I have all those things, but sometimes when you’re climbing a mountain, you just stop somewhere on a ledge, take a breath, look up, and say, “Wow! That’s still mighty high! The top is a long way off!”

Wow. That’s still mighty high. The top is still a long way off.


If anyone wants to remind me to keep the faith, I’d be happy if you would. Thanks.


Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.