Friday, July 21, 2017

July Update: Ups and Downs

It's been something of a rough month.

I finally settled in and wrote a bit on Scions of Mythos after my last post. About 3,500 words. Then I started Camp with a strong 1,500 words on the first day. Then I went on vacation mode and didn't do anything. Then I had five amazing days of writing...wordcount-wise, anyway. The story just wasn't moving. Things still felt broken and I couldn't get into the story. I felt like I was going through the motions. There was no excitement. No love for what I was creating.

So, I spent about a week not writing. And feeling terrible about not writing. I finally sat down one day and did a bunch of brainstorming. Part of my issue was figuring out what order do things happen in. So I did a projected outline for a couple of different ways, and what would cause things to happen that way. And I really had to look at what the heart of this book would be. And I figured some stuff out. I still didn't write for a few more days, but stuff percolated in my mind. And then I had a few productive writing days.

Sadly, it's not enough to save Camp NaNo. I had to lower my wordcount goal. Which kills me a little bit. I still can't shake the feeling that I'm so far behind on writing this book.

But it comes when it comes. My writing friends keep reminding me of that.

And it's been hard to get motivated to write in general, if I'm completely honest. I've been wondering what the point is a lot lately. After the initial rush of an agent asking for a partial manuscript, a string of rejections made me lose hope again. I'm down to sixteen outstanding queries, and a majority of those I will probably never hear back about. I've amassed 29 rejections and closed out eight more. Soon to be ten.

Actually, yesterday I was about to close out one--one I really was sad about, because he sounded amazing and reps a lot of my favorite authors--and then I got an email from him.

My book sounds intriguing to him, and he'd like to read the first chapter.

There may have been some jumping up and down and screaming followed by hugging my poor puppy who had no idea what was going on with her human.

That's two, friends. Two agents....two out of my top five agencies...who have shown interest in my book.

It's affirming in a lot of ways. I had resigned myself to the one agent being kind of a one-off. Not necessarily a fluke, but maybe more just like dumb luck. But now there's another one! And the second agent had a one-page plot synopsis as well as the query. So it's good to know that that's ok. I never even had anyone look at it.

Two huge agents from hugely respected agencies. My query, my synopsis, my book...they don't suck! I'm really, really happy.

And it's amazing what that happiness can do for someone's muse. Don't get me wrong. It was distracting. Even knowing it was unrealistic, I checked my email a dozen times after sending my pages to see if he'd gotten back to me yet. Hah.

The thing is, I had gotten to a point where I was like, I have maybe two fans plus my writing group. It's hard to motivate myself to write a book just for my brother and sister. I don't necessarily have to write it. I already know how it ends. I know who lives and who dies. I know how everyone's stories resolve. I'm not writing it for the sheer discovery of it.

But thankfully that changed yesterday. I let go and just settled into the story, and scenes I hadn't expected came out. I'm not moving my characters from point A to point B hoping they'll do what I want them to do. They're doing their own things. It's nice. It's a thing I love about writing.

So. I'm only 16,000 words--about five chapters--into the book. But it's finally coming alive. And while I may be "behind" or more accurately, not as far as I wish I was, it's ok. I've got all the time in the world.

I'd like to be done with it before November so I can write something new for NaNo and then take a break for a month or two, but even if I don't, it's ok.

I may not even know if these two agents want my book in six months, so there really is no hurry to self-publish. As long as all three books are written and at least first draft edited by the end of next year, I'll still be in good shape. For whatever happens.

Also, one more little tangent. I stalled out on my adventure novella series earlier this year. I was suffering from lack of planning and my character's lack of agency. So I put the episode I was working on away. The other day, I went back and read over the episode before the one I'm working on, and it was really good! Like, I surprised myself a little. The ending was a little rushed, but I know it was because I was anxious to get it done and move on.

I feel good about that series again. I know the first two adventures are a little rough still, but I'm not sure how to fix them. But after that, they are great. I really hope that someday I can put them out in the world. Hell, if I end up with an agent, I can pitch the series and maybe they can help tweak the first two adventures. Although I kind of wonder if those won't probably always be just for me. They're slowly amassing. I have the first season done out of five. But I only get maybe two done a year, so it's still a long time before I can do anything with them. I always said I had to have the first two seasons done before publishing, but I think I need to plan on having at least three seasons done. The publishing plan there is to release two seasons a year, so unless I increase my pace, I'd need five years to write the last two seasons.

Now, if I could write a season a year, three seasons would be enough of a bank. That'd be a year and a half. Trouble is, a season is basically a whole second book a year. I already determined that I'm hard-pressed to write more than one book a year in addition to starting a new NaNo project.

So for now, I just toy with it between projects to clear the palate and have some fun. It's back-burner for now, until I'm done with Scions of Mythos.

If ever.

Ugh.

Becoming a published writer is such a slow process. Even self-publishing is limited to how much product I can produce and if I can get into editors and find cover artists. I really, really want an agent to help me find a publisher so I can mostly just focus on writing and promoting and working my day-job for awhile longer.

Oh, in other news...and I can't remember if I mentioned this con or not, but the Midwest Reader Con I was going to help run in October has been canceled. The woman running it is having some family and health issues. I'm sad, in a way, but also relieved. I really don't want to be front and center in a convention again until I have a book out.

Last but not least, I should have another editing project or two over the next couple of months. Kevin is finally done the second book in his Village Alchemist series (YAY!!), and I might be editing another anthology for Sean with Pine Float Press. I truly do love editing, so I'm looking forward to both. Rachel won't have anything else for me for a few months yet, but then I should have another Cupid story.

I think that's it for this entry. Hopefully I'll have more news as far as agents by this time next month. I'm guessing most of my news will be more rejections and still waiting on these two agents.

I'm excited, though. The excitement had worn off. I really needed this. I'm beyond delighted. I'd be thrilled to death to be represented by either agent. I feel so lucky to have gotten their interest. They've rekindled my hope.

I think I can do this.

I just need to keep writing.

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