Monday, January 09, 2006

The Writing Game

As mentioned earlier, I heard back from the Agent about my fantasy novel, The Dragon's Wall. She's incredibly enthusiastic about the whole project, thinks it'll make a great series, but thinks it needs a total overhaul.

Now, that might sound really great, but I had to hide in my room for two days getting over the initial "rejection" part of it before I could think clearly and re-read the e-mail again with a cooler head. When somebody tells you your book really doesn't hit its stride until page 200 and she's fully expecting it'll be about a year's worth of edits, well, you're going to cringe. You're going to cringe quite a lot.

But for all that, she really likes the book. And I ran into her at a con, and I really liked her. I'd love to run the whole series with her. So there are a lot of positives.

Yet I honestly had to sit down and have a mental conversation with myself about whether or not I was going to do this. I had to ask myself: am I just being delusional? Is it worth spending another five years on this book, potentially taking away time from other books that I might work on? Am I just fooling myself? Should I just move on to something else?

Which is a dumb question to ask about a book you've already invested five years in. Escalation of commitment. You just have to keep going.

Because the thing with the first book in a series is that if you can nail that one, if you can sell that one, and it sells well, you've got a series. It's possible you can lock it in, so long as they don't all suck. You may even be able to support yourself for a couple of those years (if you're lucky) on writing alone. And, of course, you may wow everybody and have 500 people show up to all your signings and have huge fan clubs and be able to buy a big house.

I mean, there's that.

But let's be rational, shall we?

One of my writing buddies agreed to look at the book again, and I think I'll haul it to a writing workshop sometime this year. It's a lot of time and attention, but it's my baby, and I want to get this one out there. Maybe I really am delusional to sink so much into it, but really, what else am I going to do besides write? This is what I do. I'd be bored otherwise.

I wrote up a response to said Agent and said she should expect to see a heavily revisied version of the book sometime later this year - after I'm done drafting God's War, of course. GW has about 100 pages to go (yea, I've discovered my max fiction rate appears to be 100 pages a month). My computer's broken again (it keeps automatically restarting everytime it gets to the "login" page"), so who knows how things'll go, but that's what they make those yellow legal pads for.

So here we go again, playing the writing game, gambling that if I do good rewrites, Agent will like them, then Agent will find Publisher(s) who like the book (or require, of course, MORE REWRITES), and you just keep writing, and keep hoping you're getting better at it, and hope that sometime, somewhere, something will roll over and it'll all just hit.

Of course, it may just be a continuous upward slog, but I really hope there's a hilltop somewhere that I can get to the top of and something, somehow, some aspect of the game, will get easier.

I'm not counting on it, though.

3 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

PerpetualBeginner said...

Oh my. I hope that's not where I am in three more years. I just got my first two extensive reviews back on my first novel. Both loved it. One said it would make a good introductory book for a series. Both said it needed another hundred pages additional material to fill out the world and fill in the gaps.

I'm not up to your speed yet. My max rate a month is about 85 pages on one project, though I'm never working on just one.

Good luck with the revisions - both of God's War and of The Dragon's Wall. 

Posted by Tapetum

Anonymous said...

Good luck with the rewriting.
And keep going- if you give up on this book you'll forever wonder if you might have been able to get it published if you'd just spent a bit more time on it.

Posted by werty

Anonymous said...

There are people who believe in you. Keep on walking the path and one day you'll wake up surprised to find yourself at it's end. Naturally, there's always a new bunch of paths afterwards, but that's what makes life fun :) 

Posted by The Whipped Cooking Boy