I had another short story accepted for publication this week. I also had another rejection, but I get so many of those, it almost doesn’t count. The story should appear in July—more on that as I know more.
Meanwhile, I’m getting my completed novel ready for the next round of agent queries. I can’t decide whether to send queries out before or after I submit to #PitchWars. If accepted, I’ll work with a mentor to more fully polish my query materials. That’s coming up in September, which feels like a long way away, but really isn’t.
In the process, I re-read my first chapter and hated it..
What was I thinking?
As a result, I devoted most of this week to revision, cutting extraneous details to laser in on the primary conflict for my main character. I’m about to re-read chapter two. I sure hope I won’t be rewriting this coming week.
I wrote a short story about a sorceress betrayed by a king. She offers to have the king’s son, but he reneges on his promise to marry her. Her revenge? She refuses him his heir by staying pregnant for eight years.
That’s the premise. The story, which is mostly about what happens to the boy after he’s born, is told from the perspective of the sorceress’ giant bodyguard. More or less an uninvolved narrator. He follows the boy and tells the story, but doesn’t contribute much of anything to the plot.
The story—in addition to being somewhat clunky in its
current form—has just never worked. It comes across as mostly “tell” with huge
narrative distance. Maybe due to the point of view. The giant just doesn’t have
enough at stake to keep the tension high.
On the other hand, both sorceress and son die at the end of the tale, and since “dead men tell no tales,” the piece can’t be written from their perspective. Maybe one of them should live? I might try writing it that way and see if it works.
Have a thought about the uninvolved narrator? Pass it along.
On the querying front, no news to report. I’m looking at a couple of interesting options, including #PitchWars in September.
What is #PitMad? That’s the question I asked Anna Yeatts last March when she encouraged me to “do it.”
#PitMad is a quarterly event (March, June, September, December) during which writers pitch their completed novels on Twitter, using no more than 280 characters including–at minimum–the PitMad hashtag.
The goal is to attract agents who might want to represent your novel to publishers.
So no problem. After learning about it, I decided it would be a snap to condense my 87,000 word paranormal romance into 280 characters. And, since writers can tweet up to three times during a 12-hour, I needed three different tweets would be swell. That took some time to figure out, and quite a bit of brainstorming and revising to get it close to right.
Last March, I had fewer than 20 followers and didn’t understand the power of retweeting. Multiple RTs make a tweet to more likely come to the attention of everybody, including agents. My third tweet in March got 12 RTs.
Today, June 6, is the second #PitMad I’ve participated in. This time around, thanks to the amazingly supportive #WritingCommunity, and a large number of new followers, I had 92 RTs and 8 likes, although sadly, none of the likes came from agents.
Never mind. I met a lot of new people and RT’d a gazillion pitches for novels I definitely will want to read someday.
My tweet for The Last Summer Queen read: At 19, Macy wants her magic but first, has to get pregnant. Not easy in a female-only town. Summer Queen magic fails. Macy casts a forbidden spell and triggers an old curse. She loses her powers only to learn that love is the strongest magic.
I’m still waiting to hear from the agent who asked to read the entire manuscript and other agents I’ve queried. Based on everything I’ve learned, this is a process that can take a while. Like gardening, patience is key.
Meanwhile, I’m in Chapter 10 of my new work in progress. Let me know if I have any beta readers out there–I should be done with the first draft sometime in early September.
Whatever happened to stories that distinguished the hero from the villain by the color of their hats? White for the hero, black for the villain. Where are the villains stroking their handlebar mustaches and laughing maniacally while tying the helpless, hapless heroine to the train tracks? And where the heroes galloping up on a white horse at the last possible second to save said heroine?
For me, reading Sir Walter Scott’s Lochinvar—I think in high school—changed forever my perspective of what a hero could be. Lochinvar comes too late to the wedding, forcing him to steal the fair Ellen from her family. Is kidnapping heroic?
I’ve written about the character milestones I use as a way to organize character arcs. In my latest work in progress, I discovered—with amazement—that my hero and my villain had virtually identical histories.
Both lost mothers. Both had emotionally unavailable—absent—fathers. Both had conditional love and support from replacement mothers. Both were sent far from home to learn their craft under the same demanding and morally-suspect teacher. Both were forced to accept culturally defined roles that curtailed their freedom.
The difference between them, what made one the hero and one the villain, had more to do with conscious choices than with nature or nurture. Neither was born inherently good or evil.
Leaving me to ponder—am still pondering—the difference
between them. Resiliency? Stubbornness? Positivity? Sheer dumb luck?
The challenge for me is to sort through the little choices they made and will make as I tell the story. I need to sketch their emotional connections to those choices, to get at what motivates them to be hero and villain. I’m a bit daunted.
Meanwhile, the query quest continues. No news on that front, but I hope there will be soon. Please keep fingers crossed for me.