This is going to sound strange to say, but most of my writing career has been validated by strangers.
That is, I send the manuscript off and the 'stranger' judges the quality of it without knowing me.
In other words, there is no personal baggage involved. There is no swaying the book one way or the other because they know me, or like me or don't like me or respect me or don't respect me.
At least, that's the way it's usually happened for my most of my creative efforts. No one thinks much of what I'm doing , sometimes I'm not even noticed or I'm dismissed-- and then I go off to unknown territory, and the people there give me my creds.
Sometimes, in the course of writing or creating something, I've actually gotten a fair amount of negative feedback, from friends, family, and acquaintances.
I've learned that a third party -- an unknown party -- often has a completely different estimation of the work.
You'd think people would be overly nice about your creative efforts if they know you, but often it's the opposite. Not sure why. I make the joke: "If I know you, you can't be any good." There's a strange mix of over-expectation and under-appreciation.
Anyway, it makes me nervous about making this whole writing project personal. I'm afraid I'm overpromising, that people will be disappointed. So much so, that I'm thinking of dropping it from the conversation for the time being, and just let the project do what the project will do.
If nothing else, this reworking of Sometimes a Dragon has reassured me that I do know how to construct a novel in a readable form. How good it is, that's up to the readers. But it's good to know it hangs together.
I've just had too many false starts over the last few years. I'd get to the point where it really becomes hard work -- usually about 50 to 80 pages in, and I'd kind of let it go. Like I said, unless I'm really going to be serious about it, it's better not to pursue it any further.
That initial creative surge is great. It's fun. I enjoy it.
But it probably only gets me 65% of the way there.
To improve it by another 10% is twice as hard. And to improve THAT by 10% is twice as hard AGAIN.
And so on, into infinity.
20 hours ago