In Prescott, Arizona tonight, December 1, 2010. Above a late afternoon in late September along the western front of Ruby Mountains. This is the location of the last chapters of Highway Home. Here is a location that evokes a reaction, it stirs up deeper currents in us. Beautiful sunset on this first few days of autumn. Exactly as I’d imagined while writing the concluding scenes of Highway Home.

Okay, Quick Note

Well, headed north tonight, in the midst of the first 10,000 words of Bankrupt Heart, my second novel, got Lacey curled up at my feet, and beginning to enter the writing all day mode…a few days of distraction ahead and then plunge full time into the task at hand.

Storyboard on Wall…

Bankrupt Heart Storyboard

 

     The plotting is done. Off to editors for comment. Chapter One drafted but will revise, refine, until we get the elements of the story and characters alive on the page. And then I’ll proceed to write the next 28 chapters arriving at what I estimate to be a novel of 100,000 to 110,000 words. This trains leaving the station and expect this drafting to be completed by October. Tinkering after that into some bracket of time, another three to four months. Finished by the end of year would be superb, but I am afraid I am not likely to be capable of going quite that quick. We shall see.

     I’ll begin plotting for the next book somewhere in the middle of finishing my second novel. At least the bones of ideas for the third.

     I’m very excited… I can feel this story’s life within me now…

Hot Off the Press…

playin' with fire

 

       Well, here I am, knocking at the door, and so I thought you might enjoy seeing what a return note on a submission reads like, at least reads like if you submitted Highway Home. It is a little obtuse, a little code like, I’ll explain…

         

Thanks so much for sharing HIGHWAY HOME with me. I’m afraid I think it still needs work. The opening is much too long and slow.And only Cicero can get away with page long paragraphs. The story begins with paragraph two of the synopsis. Start in media res, hook the reader, and anything that needs to be known as background can be filled in later.
You definitely have talent, Dana, so I’d be glad to see either a spiffy revision OR BANKRUPT HEART. Don’t give up!
Best,
Name and Agency Withheld by Author (That’s me…)
    I’m not sure what “media res” means, and I do appreciate knowing in the pecking order Cicero remains stationed somewhere above me, another dissappointing news bulletin for my ego, dang.
    I’ll give you a puzzle and question. If you were about to begin writing a second novel while submitting the first, and after having revised and edited the first novel for the last six months, after having spent some 62 weeks composing and rewriting prior to editing, what would you do? I’m inclined to believe it is baked and served.
    I remember a long time ago when I set out with this plot and began to write that I had decided to write for very different reasons that this agent might have for acquiring a book. This decision to be mindful of what the market wants is only now kind of dawning on me.
    Here is a reality. I’m plotting much more intensely in the second novel. Lesson from the first novel. I am structuring the center of the second novel to bite my central characters ass much more intensely in the second novel. Lesson learned from the first novel. I am working in my novel plot structure with much more suspense and surprise points in the storyline.
     And so to a much great extent the second novel will come out of the box with a deeper blueprint, a more woven design, a greater attention to the mechanics.
     I’m hopeful I’ll have the creative juice to play within this tightness, this restrictiveness, this equation I am creating.
     Anyway, another few readers have now finished Highway Home and one in particular expressed a special pleasure with the read.
     One of these days…………….

Summit in Desert

Sonoran Desert Nearing Dusk

 

    On a hike at the saddle of a ridge this is what comes into view. I’ve been climbing this trail and rewarding myself with this sight now since my daughter Alana was first born. Canyon wrens claim their rock outcroppings as we pass. Ravens soar above on the updrafts near the peaks. Small sparrows vanish into the brush. Coyote scat steams on the trail. And the beauty of life is that your work keeps moving along even while away. I’m am proud to announce the official arrival of my first rejection letter from a literary agency!

     I got this gem while away on tour. It was a fabulous jaunt into the southwest. In my corner came two more readers who’ve not just read my novel but recommend it! I calculate that with this first notice I am now one more agency closer to an acceptance letter.

     I think we can all now relax and enjoy the fact that nothing comes easily, that we all work for everything we get, every peak we climb, every book we write, every opportunity we take to ask the world to allow us in, so we might add to the dance, one more fragment to the totality of what it means to be alive…

    Now, I’ll get back to submitting to more agencies, and enjoy the journey of asking the world for what I want.

Tempe Festival of the Arts

Good work comes one show at a time. Working with a good busking friend, Glenn Singer and together we are trying to dial in the new material I’ve got to compliment my book. I’ve got this wild idea that my book and my show can speak to each other, that one experience informs the other. Wish me luck because this isn’t certain as in much of life it is totally up for grabs.

Some day this idea just might float....

We are in the mail… that is one submission

october09c 002
The Little Boat that Could...

 

     Finally the first manuscript has been placed in the mail…this is a customized submission and included: specific header/page number spec’s, lines per page, font, font size…for the manuscript. It included synopsis, title page, letter of introduction, no paper clips, SASE back to me, and mailed flat not folded!!!!!

     Hoops……..lots of hoops…..

     On another note I have had my plotting of my second novel returned and it was shot full of big holes, especially in the second act, so to speak, there were not enough barriers or tests to present enough obstacles or power of ideas to be overcome to justify the transformation of the character from a mess into wanting not to be a mess, to overcoming his mess……..so I’ll go back and hack away at the middle which will alter both the start and finish. Got to get a blueprint worth writing… this isn’t the painting this is the idea of the composition.

     Oh, plotting is a different function than writing prose…you can hear the mind whirling different gears

Author-Entertainer