The dreaded second act, and other business

Posted by nightphoenix on February 10, 2011 in Input, Novels, Output |

This week I started shopping Hands, Like Secrets around to some agents, and believe it or not, I’ve already had a request for a partial! I actually heard from this agent the day after I queried them. In case you aren’t familiar with the publishing business, such a response is jaw-droppingly fast. Of course, I’ve also already received my first “form” rejection from a difference agency, so I guess it all balances out. But again, fast.

Interestingly, the agent who requested the partial was one who requires a writing sample with a query. The agency I got a rejection from only wanted the query itself. This means that the one who was interested saw some of the writing itself, and the one that wasn’t, didn’t. If this pattern keeps up, that will tell me that my writing is compelling and my query is not…meaning I’ll need to revise the query letter. But I’ll climb that ladder when I get there, I guess. I’m cautiously optimistic at this point.

Meanwhile, I’ve begun the process of revisiting the first draft of the second and third books. The first thing I noticed was that the writing isn’t as bad as I was afraid it was. Having said that, yeah…it needs a whole lot of work. Second realization was, man, how this story has evolved since I wrote this draft. Still using mage and cleric as terms, still third person, still working out kinks in Raphel’s character, for instance. Most of my scenes don’t have nearly enough conflict. Stakes don’t feel high enough. Motivation feel very contrived in places. Things work out too neatly.

Having said that, general pacing is okay. Secondary characters are believable and generally deep enough…no major tweaks needed. Scenes are more or less in the right order. My main tasks are going to be raising stakes, revising Naeth’s character, and revising the Keeper’s character. I will also need to weave bits of Caosgi in when my characters are on Dheu, and bits of Dheu in when they are on Caosgi…otherwise, it’s going to feel like two smaller books smashed together. I need to weave some flashbacks or dreams about Saeli’s Aschamon days in there, too, so the second book will connect back to the first. Tie Saeli’s feelings about Brendan to her feelings about Naeth.

It feels like a lot of work, but I think once I really get going, it won’t be so bad. Been working on this story long enough that I have a pretty good handle on where it needs to go.

I’m also going to start brainstorming and plotting The Waters, so I have something else in the works if the trilogy doesn’t get picked up right away. I chose that one because of the ones I’m really itching to do next, it’s the most straightforward. I love Raphel to death, but he makes me want to write an awesome “bad boy” who actually is the hero…not just masquerading as one. Alex Merrett is that character. Then I’ll do Windwaker, or maybe by that time I’ll be ready to work on Mask of Eldarmarch again. Dragon Singer is so complex and will require so much research that this is not the time to tackle it. Like Briar Rose, it needs to percolate for a while longer.

Again, apologies for the sparseness of posts. I’m going to make an effort to post something at least once a week, but I’m not promising anything. I’m not one for “check-in” posts…I only post when I have something to blather about.

Now…back to work. :)


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