Hearts Are Jerks – update

So far, my query process has included two rejections, one request for the first fifty pages (followed by a rejection), and one enthusiastic request for the full manuscript from someone I would love to work with. The full manuscript request ended in a revise-and-resubmit invitation, with a ton of valuable feedback — all of which is dead on.

I’ve hired my long-time trusted editor to go over it for me, side by side with the agent’s feedback, so that my own blind spots don’t get in my way.

Meanwhile, I’ve submitted two new stories to short story markets. I’m currently working on a manuscript edit for a client, and an editing workshop/seminar to add to my repertoire.

Oh, and: Per my last post, converting an existing manuscript directly from first person to third person doesn’t work. At least, it didn’t work at all in this case. But I’ve discovered what my hard science fiction project actually needs, and that’s a full rewrite and present tense. It’s got a new first chapter now and it feels right.

And we keep moving forward, one word at a time. ❤

Hearts / Jerks

HEARTS ARE JERKS is complete at 50,000 words and off to a handful of brave first-readers.  It’s about 10,000 short of where I’d like it to be, but I know I tend to write short and that there are things that need adding / embellishing / fleshing out. I even have a margin note that tells me so.

self-note

Now I get to take a break from it, pretend it doesn’t exist for a while, and start outlining QUILLS 2, which doesn’t have a catchy working title yet, and also (because I have other things to do), I made progress on plotting a hard science fiction novel I’ve been trying to push into shape for years.

I’m really bad at pretending HEARTS ARE JERKS doesn’t exist. It’s going to be a great book. I’m proud of it. I’m looking forward to sending it off to agents. Soon!

Margin Note of the Day

The margin notes I leave for myself are more blunt and less kind than the margin notes I leave for other people, but I do still try to be nice to myself. Today’s example:

Regarding the protagonist’s name: Her dad changed his own name legally the moment he was eighteen, against his parents’ wishes. Is that a person who would give his child a blatantly odd first name? Without a good reason, it doesn’t feel authentic. Supply good reason, or it’s back to the baby name books.

 

Next Up…

My next novel-in-progress (working title: Hearts Are Jerks) is a big departure for me. It’s Contemporary Young Adult, which means the main characters are in high school and there are no science-fictional or fantastical elements. It’s kind of a non-traditional romance, in that it has LGBT main characters, gender fluidity, and positive, realistic portrayals of polyamory.

It’s the first novel I’m writing that isn’t a tie-in to someone else’s world, and that isn’t already under contract. I’m trying to resist the urge to worry about what I’m going to do with it until it’s finished, but of course…worry is the one thing writers don’t procrastinate on, right?

Because this novel brings up a lot of questions for me.

Do I publish it under the same name I use for my genre work? Do I use a variant, like adding my middle initial or something? Do I use a new name entirely?

Do I try to use this novel to get an agent? Is this the sort of novel a mainstream publisher would even want? If I get an agent for this book, would they want to represent my future works in other genres too? Would I want to seek out someone who would want that, or would I rather have an agent who wouldn’t want that? Who do I hire to edit this for me before I start submitting it around? Who do I ask to critique it for me before I’m ready for an editor?

What’s ironic about this: when I’m wearing my editor hat, these are questions I help other people answer ALL THE TIME. Seriously, all the time. Which is to say, I do know the answers because I know how I advise other people, and how I would advise them if they were me.

I’d use a variant name, I’d seek an agent who represents writers who write books like this, I’d refer this colleague to edit and these two to critique/beta-read and ask these three if they’d be available to give me a blurb. I’d send it here, here, and here for review, and submit it to these three awards.

What’s amusing about this: I know all this stuff. But then I feel like I don’t, all of a sudden. The tables turn when it’s my manuscript in the spotlight. I have become every writer I’ve ever worked with.

What’s fascinating about this: everything I go through as a writer makes me more sensitive as an editor.