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Saturday
Jun102006

Weekend update

senatorblutarsky.jpgBy the time you read this I’ll be wending my way to the Commonwealth of Virginia. I’m staying in the dorms at SVU with another writer (yes, they pair us up). I’m hoping he doesn’t snore or have one of those creepy habits like sleeping with his eyes half-open.

To make myself feel more collegiate I’m bringing a Beatles poster and the classic Sen. Blutarsky number. The wall of empty beer cans just wouldn’t fit in my suitcase. Same with the lava lamp. But I have enough Pink Floyd loaded into itunes to propel me back in time.

On the book front I’ve made life complicated. After letting Surefire sit for a month I finally decided that it needs a major overhaul—from 3rd person to 1st. (I know, I know). I just feel too distant from the protagonist. It’s a character-driven story and seems to want to go there anyway.

But, while I was letting those thoughts simmer, I sent out four queries, just for the heck of it—netting two polite rejections, one unknown, and one "send me the first 30 pages with an outline".

Now what?

Part of me is ready to bust into some 80s breakdancing since my query is working. But I’ve spent the last week on a new outline, with a major change to accommodate the funky time-scale of a 1st person narrative. I’ve got a finished manuscript sitting there, that now feels like a ’57 Chevy that’s been dismantled in my living room. Greasy parts all over the place on sheets of plastic, waiting for patient reassembly. Deep down, in that manic part of my brain, I know it can be better. (Passion, or biting insecurity?).

On a related note, it was the first 5,000 words of Surefire that got me into this year’s Squaw Valley Writers’ Conference—where It’ll get bare-knuckled in August.

So do I leave it alone and send it? Or keep messing with it? Am I overcooking my pork chops?

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Reader Comments (6)

Send it. The agent might love it in third person and that is the book the query was based on. I once waited fifteen months to send in a manuscript after an agent expressed interest at a writers' conference. By then she had lost interest in whatever had sparked her curiosity at the conference.
June 10, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjd
Jamie,

A certain gin-swilling blogger we know might say to not send it out until it's so polished it sparkles. However, as writers we're aware that our idea of polished is very different from everyone elses. We tend to see imaginary smudges and lint everywhere. At a certain point, you have to just step away from it and send it out

See what kind of response you are getting before you decided to rewrite. If you got into Squaw with it, chances are the third is working.

Congrats on the request. Have fun at geek summer camp! I'm so jealous.
June 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJaye
There is a tendency to overcook as you say. There was a saying a friend of mine keeps reminding me of: "Novels are never finished. They are abandoned." We'll never be content with it and always find something that can be changed. At some point you've got to let that sucker go. Maybe wait until after the workshop and see what realisations come out of that before you decide whether to send or not.

I've set a deadline of Feb 2007 to submit for this same reason. It will hopefully give me enough time to stuff around with it and then I'll just have to jump off that cliff without a parachute.
June 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAmra
When you boil down the pork chops, you don't really have a lot to lose. If it is accepted, you get a chance to make changes, and if not, you have a new vision to work with.

In a way, it's kind of an exciting problem to have. (I can say that because I have no clue about any panic you might be feeling about it.)

Zinging good mojo your way...
June 11, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterFlood
My vote is to leave it the way it is. If nothing comes of it and you are sure it's because of your relationship to the protagonist, mess with it at that time. Maybe, if you are battling what-if demons, you can rewrite the first 200-300 words to help convince yourself it was fine the way it was.
June 11, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfringes
The new plan is to gleen whatever insight I can from this conference and then decide--but I'll probably leave it. At Squaw I can have two pieces critiqued, so I really should be spending that time polishing something else to bring.

June 12, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjamie ford

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