After the writing conference in August (which was super helpful), I began outlining a new story to take place in early 19th century NYC, involving a golem and Jewish organized crime. It is a small step into urban fantasy for me, and honestly, I’m pretty excited. Unfortunately though, work has become extremely busy, so I’m hoping to make some time in the winter for writing.
As of now, I’m taking a break from querying. I have too much going on, and I can’t put in the effort needed to focus on contacting and researching agents. I’m planning on regrouping during the winter, and see where I am at the end of it.
The other big news is that my husband and I will be welcoming a new member of our family in March. It was a long road, but we are excited to introduce Noah (our cat) to his new human sister.
Sorry it’s been so long for the update, but I will try to stay in the writing loop!
This time last year, I had just started BABEL. While I had written many things in the past, finishing a novel still eluded me. Several months later, BABEL was ready for editing and beta reading. I took it to a writing conference and began querying it. I was met with some interest and received many rejections. Times got pretty depressing in writer land.
Then I began BRIDGEWATER’S FOLLY and I quickly became bogged down in research. At some point, I actually began to write. A couple of weeks ago, I finished the first draft.
Today I finished the second. Soon my first beta reader will begin to read it.
I don’t know what I expect from this one, but I hope more than anything it will be published. It feels so different from BABEL, and not in a good way, or a bad way, just different.
I’ve already started to compile a list of agents who might be interested in an 18th century historical fiction that takes place in Britain. We’ll see what happens when the time comes.
Until then, I’m taking a few weeks off from editing or writing.
So, as I wrote before, I’m working on my new manuscript. And when compared to BABEL, it is not progressing as quickly. I am easily getting bogged down in research of all types: canal building, money, deportment, language, etc. It’s pretty overwhelming. It is also exciting. Luckily my husband has a very serious love for the 18th century (we are Revolutionary War reenactors), so his ample library has been extremely helpful. Except now I have a million other books I want to read. NOT HELPING.
One of my core characters is the famous, although barely talked about, English engineer, James Brindley. Brindley could be considered the father of the British canal system, and one of the most notable engineers of the 18th century. He was also, by all research, a distant relative of mine. Which I find fitting, since I followed in the engineering footsteps 😉
On our trip to England, we traveled to his mill, which the staff so graciously opened despite being closed for the season. There was something about being there that sparked a love for the area that I can’t explain. Even then, it wouldn’t be until 2 months later that I actually decided to write a book about the canal system, with a mysterious twist, of course.
For people thinking of traveling to England, or for those actually in England, branch out away from London and take a trip to the mill. Well worth the small admission fee. ( http://www.brindleymill.net/ )
Also: Two formal rejections for BABEL officially under my belt. It’s ok. I’m ok. It didn’t hurt as much as I expected. 🙂
BABEL: Complete at 89,300 words.
Current WIP: 23,100 words & counting
So, no news on the querying front. Which isn’t good news, unfortunately. I had one person ask for my full manuscript, which is good, and I submitted it to a publishing house that is having an open door session right now. Who knows what will happen.
I’ve done a ton of Twitter pitch contests and nothing has really panned out. I have one more scheduled to enter in January that might be a good fit, but other than that, I think I’m going to take a break from it all.
It’s very easy to get discouraged trying to find an agent. You start to question what might be the reason the manuscript isn’t getting picked up. Is it the query letter? Maybe. Is it the material? Possibly. Is it the marketability of your book? Most likely.
Unfortunately, I’ve heard dystopian and post-apocalyptic are the same to a lot of agents/publishers. So, thanks to the flooding of YA dystopian fiction, it’s getting harder to market these types of books. So, I’ve been trying to find a way to say that my book is post-apocalyptic, without saying it’s post-apocalyptic. The event is a vehicle for the story, but is not really the story itself. And it sure isn’t dystopain: there is no time for an evil government to form. 🙂
So, in an effort to not get down on the process, I’ve started writing my next book. It is a lot different than BABEL. It is set in 18th century England, and has an element of historical fantasy. I have just started it, and I am in love already. It’s going to be much harder to write because of the research I have to do, but in the end, it might be more marketable.
I’ve had people say you have to have a tough skin to do this, and I’m seeing that it’s true. But I believe in my writing, so I’m not ready to give up just yet.
Yesterday I attended my first writing workshop. For anyone who has never been to one, go. It is pretty cool to be surrounded by a room full of writers, all ages and backgrounds, but all in mostly the same boat as you: trying to get published.
I had the good fortune to meet up with a Twitter friend and then meet two other women who I hung out with during the session. My Twitter friend mentioned a comic con for books…and now I know what I am doing next May.
The pitching sessions made me nervous to think about, but in the end were invaluable. I submitted my prologue (first page) to be critiqued and got negative feedback because it was too general. To me, this was not a bad thing. I have decided to remove it because the story may not gain anything from its inclusion, and I certainly do not want it to hurt my story because, not to sound arrogant, but my story is not general.
For people who don’t know, my book does not have external dialogue after the first chapter. I know it sounds weird, but so far it has beta read pretty well. One of the agents I pitched to also suggested that my manuscript may not be science fiction, but literary fiction. I found this interesting because I only consider it science fiction because it seems like that is how all post-apocalyptic books are classified. My book also includes a decent amount of religious mythos. I think though, that you can take from it what you will; either focus on the religious parts or take them as something else.
The most interesting thing I noticed was that I pitched my book to two agents and they had two very different responses. One was excited and seemed genuinely interested, and the other was more reserved and offered suggestions to make it more readable. In the end, they both wanted a submission, so I call it a success.
I have no idea what will happen with the agents, but the experience was well worth it.
I don’t know if it’s a “thing”, but I might have writer’s remorse. After finishing the novel, I was so excited that I had done it, that I had set out to do something and actually completed it. I puffed my feathers and told the world, I HAVE COMPLETED A NOVEL. I felt awesome.
Time has passed and I don’t feel as confident anymore. People have read it in its entirety or partially. I have read and reread. Edited and edited again. The word count was chopped, trimmed of extraneous words and phrases. I have received some beta reader feedback, all of which has been productive and incorporated for the most part.
My confidence, though, is waning. This story, which had excited me, now only feels slightly more than mediocre. I’m hoping this feeling goes away. Maybe it’s because I entered a contest on a whim and didn’t get selected. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid the story is no longer interesting. I don’t know.
I am pitching to two agents at the upcoming Boston Writing Workshop in a couple of weeks. I have never pitched anything to anyone. It is terrifying. I know that I need to get my head and my heart back into my book. Or else what’s the point?
Current word count: 90808
Since I finished the first draft almost a month ago, I have been busy editing. I had not, up to that point, actually read through the whole book. Mostly, it was because of the way I had written it. I wrote the beginning, the end, and then finally the middle. I was surprised during my read through to find several continuity errors and various other things that needed to be changed. I also edited as I went, trying to cut out grammatical things I saw were a problem. Finally, I gave it to some beta readers to look at.
My husband, who also was instrumental on answering military and weapon questions throughout the writing process, was the first beta reader to give me comments. I know, I know…you’re supposed to get someone impartial to read, but he had promised me he would be brutally honest during his read through. I believe he was, and I used his comments to make some changes to the story.
We are heading to the UK for our second anniversary in less than a week and I will look forward to not doing anything with the book until we get back. The next steps will be to compile whatever comments my other readers have and then give the manuscript to my editor. Then on November 14th, I am going to a writer’s conference and will be meeting with a couple of agents.
I am starting to get excited.
Current word count: 92147