Archive for the 'Novel Writing' Category

The Path to Publication

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014
Beginning-of-summer draft

Beginning-of-summer draft

And so it begins. Or rather, has begun. I could throw a lot of words at this, but it’s better to simplify, I think.

November 2002, while pregnant with first kid, participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote 50K young adult novel draft about a teen girl with synesthesia. This draft had no plot and no conflict. Sometime after that took 2 novel writing courses at the Loft, found a critique group, and was told it was ready to send out.

I sent it out to 2 editors, plus used it to apply to several writing contests.

*crickets chirping*

I inferred that it actually wasn’t ready to send out.

Around then I had a second child followed by an extendo-dance-mix version of post-partum depression. Things got really jumbled for a while. I started another non-fiction-y memoir thing, I participated in another NaNoWriMo with what seemed like the sequel to the first book. I put both the YA and non-fictiony thing down when Guppy was 1.5 because it was just too much, already.

When he started kindergarten I picked up the YA book again and realized that the first NaNoWriMo combined with the second, the supposed sequel, could actually be one book with a plot and conflict. I took 2 years to merge the two ideas and write my way to an ending I liked.

I took one more year to get a 120,000K word sloppy messy draft to make the beginning and middle match the ending.

I took a summer to edit the 120K behemoth (see photo above. I had it printed out to read and edit in hard copy) down to a svelte 72K word less sucky draft, had 3 beta readers read it to assure me it didn’t suck and was really truly close to sendable.

I made some MORE changes based on their feedback (honestly, I can’t count the drafts) and now it’s at 73K words.

The next step now that I’ve written the best manuscript I am capable of writing is to seek an agent. Back in the day, Young Adult authors could often skip the agent step. Not very often, now.

The order of operations is:

1. Get an agent who then 2. Tries to sell your book.

Last month, I pitched an agent at a conference. She asked for the first 50 pages which I sent, and I haven’t heard from her, but she notes on her site that she takes up to six weeks to read partials, so we’re still in that window.

Last Friday I sent my first cold query to an agent. Yesterday I sent my second.

Every single step of the this new venture makes me feel slow and slightly nauseated. I can’t figure out how to get formatted text into email (apparently, I need Word, which my husband is philosophically and morally opposed to), and was wrestling with the Query Tracker website this morning.

According to all available info, I have years ahead of me of rejection, and am perfectly likely to have this book (on which I’ve worked for nearly 12 years, gah) be rejected and either self published (which is a fine option, though very work intensive) or put away so I can work on the next thing.

As with many moments, I have to remind myself there are really only 2 choices: give up, or keep trying. So for now, I’m going with trying. In spite of the stupid feeling and nausea.

The Ironic Speed of Longhand

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

I have begun work on my second novel in longhand rather than on my computer. This didn’t start consciously but rather circumstantially. I found myself without my machine, so I grabbed a journal and started to write. Ever since, I’ve continued in longhand, typing up passages later for my writing group. This works well for me, since baby Guppy doesn’t nap often or for long. Though the computer seems like it would increase efficiency, it’s a false economy. By the time I boot up the computer, open the programs, and attach the mouse, precious minutes have gone by, and my resolve to work has lessened.