Friday, March 15, 2013

The Back Up Plan

I think literary agents should have a degree in author psychology.  There needs to be a major for this in every English department in every university in the US.

Syllabus Ideas:
How to Motivate Your Discouraged Client
How to Council Distraught Writers
How to Encourage Otherwise Defeated Authors

...Just to name a few.

The good news is, I finished my first draft of the Sci-Fi Horror, currently titled SCREAMS FROM THE VOID.  To celebrate, and reward myself, I took a "break" from my writing schedule as the draft went to Beta Readers.  I caught up on household projects, I scrubbed a few showers, I actually looked at my house and marveled it was still standing.
Sometimes I wonder if my husband's fear that if he ever died I'd become a hoarder is correct.

The BAD news to finishing a draft and taking a "break" (I put that in quotes because even when I'm not writing, I'm still obsessively thinking about my work), I suddenly took the time to take inventory of the state of all my finished, and otherwise submittable projects.  This is bad because, A) my poor agent, who is still recovering from a nasty cold and nearly swallowed whole with resubmissions from new clients, is suddenly getting emails from me asking what the status of my Sci-Fi Speculative MS is.  How many editors still have it?
What have the comments been since the last time we spoke?
What do we do with it if the current batch of editors all pass?
What's our next move?
Where do we go from here?
Have you had a chance to read the fourteenth draft of this other book yet?
What about this?
What about that?
Poke, poke, poke - jab, jab, jab.

Okay, it wasn't THAT bad.
I sent three emails.

It just felt like a dozen or more because there were several I wrote in my head but never sent.

To be clear, some might say this isn't a bad thing.  It's good to remind your agent that you're alive.
I consider it bad because of my manic obsession.

This sudden interest in the nuts and bolts of my submissions is also bad because, B) I begin to wonder if I'm not kidding myself with this whole "publishing thing." The industry is complex, there are a multitude of hoops you have to jump through to even get a shot at it, and no matter how much I run on that hamster wheel, so matter how much I sweat, no matter how hard I obsess and cry, I still haven't gotten very far.

Mind you, I've gotten someplace!
Here just a few years ago I was prepared to give up on traditional publishing altogether and not even try to find an agent, and my writer friends convinced me otherwise, so I'm thankful for that!
But in my manic obsessive, push, push, push, 'you can get anywhere if you just work harder' attitude (which isn't always correct) I began to feel discouraged.

Who the hell am I kidding?

Nobody but my agent "gets" me.
Oh, woe is me.  I'm a misunderstood writer.
Boo hoo.
Wah, wah.
What is an ignored writer to do?

Well, here's what an ignored writer does...
First, she gets her head out of her ass.
Second, she realizes she's not ignored, just not in the spotlight.  This is a big field.  If you had the spotlight you'd be freaking out like a cat in a swimming pool, so chillax.
Third, she gets back to work because obviously, taking a "break" while in an obsessive productive phase is not conducive to mental health.

So, I needed a project, and since I'm still waiting on Beta Reader notes on SCREAMS FROM THE VOID, I couldn't work on that.
What does that leave me?

A picture book idea I've been mulling over?


My brilliant, brilliant Bree.  My agent, who I swear to God must have a degree in author psychology gave me the answer.

I have a handful of editors who still hold my submission THE LINE.
IF, and let's be truthful, it's a probable if, the editors all come back with a NO for the same reasons as the others [insert grumble here], then we need to think about where, if, how, and what to do with it.
Plan B.
What's our Plan B?

Sit on it for 5 to 10 years until the market is "ready" for it?
We've already established I don't sit still well.

Rewrite it to fit the current perimeters of YA?
If the right editor asked me to.

Rewrite it for a totally different market, holding nothing back, and taking it to places I stopped myself from going because it was intended as YA?
Hmm.  Now that's an interesting prospect.

It's like a brain teaser. A challenge that may be for nothing, but may be for something.  A draft I may never use, but one that I desperately needed to try.

Brilliant, my Bree.
It's like a puzzle, dumped out on a card table.  All she said was, "What if...?" and I've gone back to work.

Back to obsessing about writing, and not my career - as it should be.
Back to obsessing about my poor, poor, poor main character.
That poor girl!
I'm really torturing her now.

And if my predictions prove true, I will finish this rewrite just about the time the Beta readers come back with notes on SCREAMS FROM THE VOID, and then I can jump face first into those.

I tell you, it feels good to have a direction.
All I needed was a push in a direction, any direction, really.  Even if it eventually leads nowhere.
I know this.
But I can't sit still, and who the hell really wants to scrub showers?

Torturing fictitious characters is so much better!

1 comment:

  1. I don't want to scrub showers either
    When shall I be over with the coffee and cookies? We can contemplate that "what if.." together, or come up with different ways to put your characters through the ringer with all the crazy feels (maybe someone can loose an eye)!

    We'll just do it while we enjoy cookies.... cause cookies make everything better!