Friday, November 28, 2008

50 K

I hit my 50K on the new novel, which means I have successfully completed the National Novel Writer's Month thing. The book is still in development. I didn't have part of the story until basically yesterday, but it was significant part.

It's still about the happy little town of Cartersville. There are still an awful lot of snakes, but the book is a long way from being done. I'll be working on getting the rest of the raw material out probably until Christmas, then the rewrite.

Since I have completed my required 50K, I promise not to make much mention of the thing until I get the thing skinned, scraped and pelted. Everybody has endured my caterwauling about the subject for a while. About the least interesting thing I do here is talk about my writing.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

No list this week. I have to stop, at least for a while.

I got a letter from an agent in California. He's willing to take a look at the first 50 pages of my book and a one-page synopsis. This is definitely not a "no." It's a very clear "maybe."

I'm keeping my expectations low. Odds are he'll take a pass. I expect to get a couple of agents willing to look at the book, but who will turn it down for any of a million reasons. It would be highly unlikely, I think, to get a rep without a little more suffering on my part.

Still, it's a start. It's the next level of disappointment and it's going to hurt more now.

On a side note: I'm also wondering if it was my revised query letter that got through. So far, I have not received any of the improved letters back with some kind of scrawl at the bottom wishing me the best of luck, but please don't stalk me. I'll have to check my notes on what I sent. If so... heh... guess who'll be getting letters again in about two months? Right. Everybody I've already pitched at.

Anyway, I'll be sending off what is requested and waiting through the holidays for a response. Best case scenario is he tells me to send the remainder, he loves it and we go into the business of making me a published author in 2009. That is what I want more than just about anything in the world.

If not, we'll resume sending out mailings in January. From several sources I've read agencies and publishers tend to feed stuff from the slush pile (the term for unsolicited manuscripts and the like) into the furnace at the first of the year. I was going to have to knock off soon anyway. With a little more luck, I'll have a crude first draft of my new novel, tentatively titled "The Snake handlers of Lee County" by January. That's what I'll work on through the Winter and maybe Spring.

So, as gloomy as it sounds like I'm being, this is really good news.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Nose to the Grindstone

Okay, as has been pointed out, I missed the list last week.

Here is who I'm sending stuff to:
Victoria Sanders
Wendy Schmalz
Wendy Sherman
Eleanor Wood
Robin Strauss

Albert Zuckerman
Robert Brown
Susan Zeckendorf
Helen Zimmerman
Pennie West

I've picked up a few more rejections and one note asking I re-send my work via e-mail. While this isn't the same thing as someone saying they're going to read what I've written, it is different than the usual fortune cookie cutter letter telling me it's not for them, but they wish me the best of luck. I am ever hopeful even if Lawrence Block (written about a hundred books) says most first novels are largely unpublishable. I believe in my little book, but it wouldn't be the first time an author's first work was published later as a second or third book.

I am at 28,000 words on my current writing project. You learn, I think, as you go what works. I have a 20,000 word ceiling I have to break. If I can hold the story past 20K, I think I can get it to the end. For those of you interested, yes, I am sticking it out with Fry Cook Bob, Mr. Pulaski and the snakes of Lee County, Cartersville, USA. This may consume me through the early part of the year with edits, rewrites and many sleepless nights turning it into something that makes sense. Currently, it is very, very confusing.

I've enjoyed other blogs more since I've been off the blogging. I chimed in over at Film Geek when someone brought up "It's A Wonderful Life," possibly the most tragic holiday film ever made. I love the thing, but in it's way, it's worse than "Requiem for a Dream." Frank Capra was completely insane. I've also been throwing in comments over at 5th Column, but not to any real use.

And the holidays are coming up. The mad scramble has not begun just yet, but will be happening soon. I've scrimped and saved again with the hopes of putting something under the tree for the kids that isn't completely pathetic. It's not a lot and I am mindful of the last time I saved up with the hopes of making a bright Christmas --we ended up getting kicked out of our place and had to spend most of the money I'd put away on a new place to live. I'm not going to have nearly as much cash as I had two years ago, but it's better than where I was last year.

The close of the year reminds me of my resolutions. Most of them failed. I look over at that bar to the right and cringe. I can make no other resolution for next year than to try again. So, the upside is that's already taken care of for me. I don't need to make another list and besides, fortune favors the persistent.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Nose to the grindstone

First, a foremost, to the Obama supporters... congrats on your guy winning. While I voted for the man, I wouldn't call myself a supporter -just another cog in the system. I took no pleasure in casting my vote. It was just something I had to do, like floss.

The upside is the currently whacked out Republican party took a much-need spanking. Maybe they'll come back with something in two years that isn't abortion, gay marriage or putting Jesus on the eight dollar bill. Say what you want. The Republican Revolution in the 90s and the Contract with America had some good ideas.

Second, the word count for my November novel is 11,600. It's a fair start, slowed by an over-interest in last night's election coverage. I'd like to be at double that by next Wednesday.

I'll post my promised list of five people I'm sending my book off to, but later today. The list is incomplete currently.

I have gotten a couple of polite rejections. The best, so far, was from a guy in California who sent back my query letter, but penned a note at the bottom, telling me it wasn't really his kind of thing.

I'm really starting to think I'm doing it wrong, but... I sort of expected to get shot down a lot before I got on base. It's disheartening and disappointing, but I guess if I wanted to do something easy, I'd just make grilled cheeses for a living. I can do a pretty good grilled cheese.

So, I'll hit the library today, research cover letters and maybe try revising my synopsis. Fuck, maybe I'll start sending random coupons I get from off my desk -stupid bribes to beg these fuckers to read my book. I've got two for some shitty coffee from McDonalds and one from chick-fil-a.

This actually may be a plan, not a good plan, but it's a plan.

The list for who is getting the book queries this week:
Shannon O'Keefe
Aaron Priest
Susan Ann Protter
Helen Rees
Scott Gould.