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.
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…
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…
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.
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.
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
Well, cover letter is getting proofed by my editor, synopsis is ready to print, manuscript ready to print, envelope addressed……… and yes, here we go, the first mailing goes out today to a literary agency.
Having a developmental editor going over my manuscript since March of this year, after having spent countless weeks and months drafting the book, and scrubbing and rescrubbing the book, again and again until we can’t at least at this moment find anything else we can alter or correct, it is easily, without any doubt, the most intensely written prose I’ve ever worked on.
I’ve learned an enormous amount. And, by the way, if you are writing a novel? I’d recommend not being too fussy about the first chapter in the initial phase as you’ll have to go back and refine and foreshadow much of what is hardly imagined once you’ve plunged into the body of the book.
I spent weeks on a first drafting of the first chapter years ago now and much of that effort and prose has been so substantially altered it was somewhat of a waste of time. I ought to have got on with the thing.
My unedited manuscript came in at 256 thousand words, the novel is now down to 157 thousand words, and that doesn’t count all the countless other pages that were part of revising and part of the initial drafts… Of the 157k that remain, some 25 thousand of those words have been studied, altered, revised, changed, and contemplated until everyone involved has had their heads nearly explode from the thing. What a process. On to the next challenge!