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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Free Fallin'



I guess I always knew it, deep down.

Between listening to Brodi's Interview and reading Beth's post yesterday, it really hit home.
The Travelers is probably not going to make it to publication. 
This is not self-deprecating - I now know that first novels are an exercise in pouring a story out from beginning to end, on falling in love with characters and  writing and rewriting until they read on paper just like they look in our heads.


CC Nathan Rupert

But most of all, for me at least, it's proving to be an exercise in letting go.
Hearing those ladies' voices yesterday allowed me to finally close The Travelers file on my computer, and to delete the 17 (yes, seventeen) drafts from my Kindle.
That is, until an agent asks for revisions, (see how I just slipped in that cheery little bit of positive thinking?), because we all know how I love the Revision Rush.
I'm not giving up on The Travelers - not by a longshot. I'm still going to query it, because I believe in the story and the characters and I think that the writing is solid. I do. 
(Please let some agent somewhere love Nik and Davis as much as I do and give them a chance.)

But. I am, slowly but surely, realizing - that novel does not define me as a writer. This is not a one-shot deal. That first novel was training wheels, and it did a really awesome job. It might get rewarded for its work with its own hardcover binding one day. Or it may not. And that's okay.

Now, here's my real problem: I don't know what to do next. 
I'm dying - DYING to write.  Here are my options:

1. Sequel to The Travelers. I already have a basic plot outlined and a bunch of scenes (10 K worth) written, just because I can't get the story/characters out of my head.

2. Shiny New Idea #1 - A murder mystery with light paranormal overtones (that is not vampires, werewolves, faeries, shape shifters, zombies, angels, demons, or anything like that.)

3. Shiny New Idea #2 - A kickass, tech-y dystopian (I know, dystopian is over) that is a retelling of an old-school legend. (think Tristan and Isolde. But it's NOT Tristan and Isolde.)

4. Shiny New Idea #3 - A story about misfit superhero kids, but not like x-Men at all - actually, the opposite. Kind of. I promise, it's not tired.

I feel like I'm free-falling, and I'm a little panicked about it, to be honest. I've been spending time every day with the same beloved characters for EIGHT MONTHS. I miss them, and I need new ones. Or old ones. If I'm being honest, I'm still obsessing over the sequel to The Travelers, but I know writing sequels is a stupid idea before you even have an agent (ahem.)

So, not that I'm going to depend on it, but just for fun - if you were me, what would you do? I need to feel driven, I need to throw myself into something new. Which would you pick?



Photo credit Colin Wu under Creative Commons License, copyright 2010

7 comments:

  1. I think as each passing novel I write I get stronger as a writer. What's funny is that my first novel was titled Finding Me (How fitting don't you think)? In this process I found myself as a writer and from there I've been writing ever since.

    Each stage is hard to pass. It's hard to let go, and hell it's hard to know when to stop. I rely on my GUT so much to push me through. It hasn't let me down yet. It might just lead me to publication! Best of luck with The Travelers!!!!

    PS - I LOVE LOVE LOVE the picture with the boy standing on all the books and seeing an alternate universe! It made my day! I love magic ;)

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  2. @Jen - That is amazing! You must have known before you even really started FINDING ME that it would be transformative.

    From what I know of you, I think I can say your gut WILL lead you to publication. You have "awesome" written all over you.

    I wish I could take credit for that picture, but it started floating around the twitterverse during the YA SAVES campaign a few months ago. I'm thinking of printing it on canvas for my office. :)

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  3. I <3 #2 and #4, and I know what you mean about moving on. It's hard to choose which chicken to hatch next (too odd of an analogy?).

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  4. You are so sweet, and I am so dumb, I could cry. I am, of course, referring to your little disclaimer at the top. My stupidity is still shaming me!

    BTW I just got back from the Post Office, and your copy of Unearthly is in the mail:)

    Totally work on the Elias story, because I want to read it!

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  5. @Kelley Yes, it is sad. I feel like an empty nester, I miss them SO MUCH!

    @Gina Yeah, I think Elias wins. But I am seriously freaking out about this first person present thing.

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  6. I love shiny idea #2! And don't even say dystopian is over! I'm editing one right now, darn it!

    It is hard to move on from the first novel, but at some point--it is the right thing to do in order to keep moving and growing. But the way to learn, for me at least, was to keep writing novels. And it doesn't mean that you can return to it at some point. The one I'm editing now is filled with characters that were created for my first novel.

    And I get from your response to Gina that you are switching POV and tense. Try it! I switched from 3rd past to 1st past and now I write everything in 1st present. It was rough to make the transition, but I learned so much about writing and sentence structure. Now I love, love writing in 1st present, but I never would have known that if I hadn't leaped!

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