Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Update: end of March 2010

Still revising Empty Vial, and learning more about the publishing industry and all its little cogs. I now believe that my third book (Empty Vial) is YA fantasy science fiction. Apparently, that's the new word for "soft" science fiction. But if I could specify it to death, I would call it YA neuroscience fiction. It's really the only label that fits 100%. I also now realize why, when somebody convinced me my work must be literary (because it had to do with the mind), agents turned and ran when I labeled my MS as literary science fiction. Apparently, very few agents work with "literary" anything. Good to know. Some of my favorite industry blogs are Nathan Bradford's agent blog, and one he recently linked to: - VERY helpful!

My fourth work (work-in-progress, really) is middle grade fantasy of the superhero/super villain variety. I'd be more specific, but I really like my premise and--although it isn't perfectly original (it was actually inspired by a favorite movie)--I don't wish for the market to become saturated before I finish it. So I'll write about it when it's agented. Count on it.

As for the Empty Vial project, it still needs a lot of work. It's been out for submission before, rejected around 8 times, and I hope it will be out for submission again soon. But I am NOT going to jump the gun this time. I need to get it industry-ready. I have also decided that nanowrimo projects aren't so easy to revise into working novels. I have limited experience, to be sure, but it's been surprisingly difficult with Empty Vial to take my stream of consciousness, first person ramblings and turn them into a tightly plotted story with a clear beginning, middle, and end. It's still not there yet. I have a very supportive group of family and friends reading for me. They are wonderful and usually tell me when something is way off in my work. Of course, it would be nice to have an industry professional reading my stuff, offering advice, etc., but I'm not rich. I don't see us being able to afford a real editor until after my first book is on the shelves for a while, ironically.

I'm off to write chapter 4 of mysterious new project, and revise chapters 8, 9, 10, etc. of the last one. Wish me luck. As Margaret Atwood said, "...there's no free lunch. Writing is work. It's also gambling. You don't get a pension plan. Other people can help you a bit, but essentially you're on your own. Nobody is making you do this: you chose it, so don't whine."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Yes, I'm still writing...

I've been working intermittently on new work while simultaneously reworking and revising The Empty Vial. I'm making tremendous progress on the latter. It's been fun to completely rework each chapter, bit by bit. At first, I found it a dread to "murder my darlings", and by that I mean deleting entire paragraphs that I personally found so fluid and poetic. After doing it a few times, I realized how much it cleaned up my work, how much more "fluid" it actually is when the reader doesn't have to stop the story to listen to my ramblings. There's more action, and that's what my weakness was before.

I discussed this with my kid sister, who is also a writer. We fear conflict. It's a great thing if you want to get along with others in the real world, but a terrible flaw if you're a storyteller. Here I am, having written three full books with a beginning, middle, and the end--and I'm holding back! I'm holding my heroes back because I can't bear to see them suffer or--heaven forbid--wind up in some predicament they aren't equipped to resolve. But that's life. That's what art strives to imitate, right? So I'm working on it. A lot. It's been fun, but also a bit nerve-racking. I still worry about my characters, but it's kind of like my 3-year-old and his need for experiential knowledge. No matter how many times I tell him something is dangerous, it seems he needs to bonk his head on the corner of a table before he stops jumping off the sofa. And aren't we all that way just a little bit?

I'll post the new first chapter of Empty Vial in a bit. Now, off to the park to get into some natural conflict with our environment. Hee hee.