In 2012, I wrote a post asking what I should work on next. I listed three possibilities of novels I’d already started. Two and a half years later, I’ve written 2 out of 3 of those novels. (By “written” I mean in a substantial enough form to send to publishers. I don’t mean they’re published. Or finished. Because once an editor has accepted one, there will be plenty of revision. Because I’m not Roald Dahl. Or whoever that writer is who manages to send in perfect manuscripts. I’m sure I heard there was one.)
I started with the historical novel. Managed to fix the middle and workshopped it with four of my writing friends. Rewrote it. Took it to a revision conference in California. Rewrote it. Meanwhile my agent sent it out in both forms. I got lots of interesting comments, including a publisher who wanted me to revise, but who has been silent since receiving the revision. An editor who’d shown interest at the California retreat decided the revision had too many coincidences. She didn’t say what those were. So THREE PRAYERS is back on the shelf, awaiting inspiration for another rewrite.
I developed the soccer novel-in-verse into an entirely new book. It continued to get looks in this form, but several times was rejected because no one could believe that a boy who liked soccer would read poetry. I kept resisting the suggestion that I change it to prose. But with this last suggestion, the editor took the time to take out the line breaks and show what the first five pages would look like if the words stayed the same but the spacing was different.
Maybe if it had been the first time this suggestion was made, it wouldn’t have swayed me. But seeing the prose version on the page like that was helpful. And I was worn down. And finally convinced.
So I tried it. And I continued on, revising using her five single-space pages of suggestions for more development. And I’m happy to report that, barring a few tweaks after my final readers’ comments come in, I’ll soon be ready to hand this off to my agent.
Number one on that old list, THE OTHER JESSAMY, is languishing. I look at it and love it and have no idea where to go with it. Someday….
Meanwhile, I’m working on another novel-in-verse that began as a picture book. If this doesn’t sound familiar, I haven’t talked about this trend yet. (Note to self: post on this subject.)
This new MG novel-in-verse is tentatively titled, ZOE, HERSELF. It’s a story about sisters. Stay tuned….