So It Begins…

After months and months of nerve induced procrastination, I have officially sent out my first query letters for Us.

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I sent them out last week. My husband wrapped his arms around me, we counted down, and clicked the send button together. Sharon was a major help to me that day, sending me constructive criticism on my pitch which I truly think made it infinitely better. This whole situation is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. I keep reading things that say, “It’s never your first novel that gets published.” Maybe that will be true, but I’ve started putting myself out there and that, for me, is a huge step forward.

Though I did a thorough copy edit of my manuscript before I started querying, I am still printing out drafts and combing over them looking for errors. It’s a little disconcerting that I keep finding errors, but at this point I just correct them and move on. As I wait for rejections responses to come in, I’m digging into my next novel, because if it isn’t this one that gets published, it may be the next one. Thusly and thereforths, I need to keep working.

This road may be long and hard, but I love writing too much to just walk away without trying. And now that I’ve started, there is no way that I’m going to give up without a fight.

Best Laid Schemes…

I’ve been meticulously methodical about sending my novels out for representation to the point where, last month, I called myself out for being utterly ridiculous. And, as J.R.R. Tolkien said,

“It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.”

IMG_5062So, I decided to take March off from writing new things and focus on querying for Us. I knew it would be hard and that I’d be scared and maybe even polish off one or two containers of antacids before April rolled around, but this thing won’t happen on its own.

I started out well. Then one day I unwittingly began to mull over some old cut material from a first draft of my fantasy trilogy. They were scenes I liked and plot points I enjoyed, so I hoped that one day I could resurrect them in something else. I chewed on bites and pieces of them over the next two days until something lit a fuse and my brain exploded.

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It was madness. It was fever. In the space of a week I had over 90,000 words in a document, over 50,000 of that are brand new. And that word count doesn’t even take into consideration the 10k+ that I scribbled into my paper journals. One day I wrote for almost 10 hours straight. When I rose from my desk, I wandered the rooms hardly present, my head was clouded with voices and scenes from another world. I lost tons of sleep, had difficulty entering into conversations that did not involve me talking through the rough patches of my story outline, and ignored my husband when he called me to meals.

Thankfully, it’s dying down now, as I’ve rough drafted all the scenes in my head and thought through the outline enough to know how the story is shaping itself. I’ve got three new characters I adore, one of which is probably my most morally complicated character to date.

So my departure date for the long trip that is the publishing process is pushed back again because I love what I do too much. I sometimes have this morbid sensation that I’m going to die with over 20 completed novels sitting in files on my laptop.

…that being said, I think I’ll work on query letters after I finish writing this blogpost. 😉

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text © Rachel Svendsen 2016

All Growed Up

I’ve been working on a young adult fantasy trilogy for over a year now. The way I have it plotted is in a sort of broken chronological order, meaning that book number 3 is meant to be published first followed by book 1 then 2.

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Book 3, entitled Immortal Bond, has been complete for over six months and placed to the side for additional work when I finish books 1, The Channeller, and book 2, My Brother’s KeeperThe Channeller is my current project (aside from copy editing Us which I am hoping to query for soon). I finished the first draft in early December 2015 and it was about 86,000 words. Working this series backwards has been interesting. I expected the world to morph and develop as I went through the series, and I knew that by the time I made it back to Immortal Bond there would be a lot more than just copy editing to do.

I just never imagined I’d have to redo the whole thing.

I was nearly done with The Channeller when I started saying to myself, “Wow, there’s some mature themes in this story. I better be careful.” Then the writer in me rolled her eyes and said, “Look just write what you need to write and you can tone it down later if you have to.” I let myself believe this, until one day I wrote something that I knew had to stay. It was a scene that told a lot about two characters, one of them, named Renaud, is key to my entire series. I read over the scene once or twice then took it blushingly to my husband.

“Hey honey,” I said as I handed him my laptop. “Can you just read that bit there and tell me what you think?”

He read it while I stared at his face, trying to gage his reaction. When he finished he turned to me and said, “It’s good, but this is not young adult anymore.”

I hadn’t prepped him for that reply which made him saying it all the more compelling. I spent the next few weeks with a nagging question in the back of my mind, “now what?”

After weeks of running Immortal Bond through my mental editor, I finally worked it out and came to this conclusion: The whole thing needs to grow up.

I don’t often plot on paper, just in my head with the occasional notes jotted here and there in my notebook or word document. But I went through all the key scenes and I am certain that I can mature them and grow up my characters (some of them literally). I even got excited about it, thinking that it will probably be better this way then my original idea.

However…

I am basically going to have to rewrite the whole thing from scratch. I already started. I’ve been making notes for rewrites of Immortal Bond as well as making notes for how this will effect My Brother’s Keeper (which is tecnically next on the agenda after The Channeller). I even took the time one day to rewrite a whole scene in Immortal Bond, the same scene that started my professional writing journey in July of 2013. It’s the scene that defines the whole story of Immortal Bond, everything else in the book bleeds out from that chapter, like an ink spot on a blank piece of paper.

It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m a proud parent and I can’t wait to see what my baby will look like after I finish taking the YA out of her name.

© Rachel Svendsen 2016