May 28 2008
I was looking at the Moira Rogers Collective today, and their blog got me to thinking. In five months, they have six contracted works, which is pretty damn shibby. Those two are really on fire. We’ll be begging them to sign our print novels at major bookstores in no time.
Of course, my own list isn’t that impressive. In June 2007, I submitted my very second story to Cobblestone Press, a novella called “Chef’s Choice”. I got a letter back stating that they’d love to publish the novella, but might I change the name? Like most authors presented with their first contract, my initial answer was, “I’ll chop off my feet if you want!”
I didn’t send that. I just said, “Sure, what did you have in mind?” And thus, Meghan’s Submission was born, and was released in November.
In the year since that day where I signed the contract, I’ve done a lot of writing. I’ve done a lot of stuff, period. Most importantly, I’ve done a lot of learning. About the market, about writing romance, about what makes a romance, and about my current and future places in the publishing world. And there’s more than a few stories that haven’t seen the light of day.
So I thought you might enjoy a look at what you haven’t gotten to see.
- The Great Fantasy Novel – I’m keeping the title of this one under wraps, as it will be published (see how confident I am?) under my real name. I have 45k words in on this one, and I’ve been writing it for probably five years. I’m at the stage now where I understand what’s wrong with it, and how I can fix it. Someday.
- The BDSM Space Opera – I started writing this one, then realized I had no idea where I was going with it. It is tentatively called Sovereignty, but that’s subject to change. I really love the idea, though, and I love what I have of it, so it will get done someday. It was where I started to see the value of an outline, however.
- Golden Boy – I hate it when you have to scrap a good idea just because it won’t work. This is a terrific idea. The characters are tremendous. The prose is light and funny. But in execution, it’s not working like I wanted it to. I hope that I’ll find a way to fix it someday, but it’s really not a priority. Still, I’d love to see my idea for a sexy descendant of King Midas work out.
- Thirty-Two – I love this “lost love found again” story for inexplicable reasons, since I am usually not into “sweet” stories. This one, however, is practically saccharine. Which was why I stopped. I have to decide if I want to leaven it with some harder ideas, or just finish it out sweet and loving and see if I can find a market. This story taught me about researching who buys what, and testing my marketability.
- Dominant Enigma – I sent this to a publisher, who really liked it, except… It’s always those ellipses that get you. The editor had a lot to say about it, and every piece of her advice was dead on. Just by writing a revise/resubmit letter, she taught me about romantic tension, the romantic plot versus the external plot, and how to draw both out. This is the best rejection I’ve ever gotten as it not only taught me those things, but taught me about prioritizing and being true to a story’s voice. I may redo this story someday, but I have so much I want to accomplish first.
- Road to Canaan – This is a story that I will finish. It’s either next in line, or right after that. I got started, I got stalled, and I realized it had to do with rushing the plot, and rushing the outline. I busted it back down to the stellar Chapter One, and it will be a lot better from there on out. Because I’m getting my futuristic Western right.
- Yesterday’s Sins – Oh boy. This story. I found a piece of pre-made cover art by Sable Grey that I loved. I looked through my Great Big Notebook of Everything, and I found this idea I’d had months before. And I started writing. And writing. I wrote 5.5k words on this bad boy one night. I have the voice, the idea… Once I start in on this one, I don’t stop. But what it taught me is not to rush the ideas, or cram them into a space in which they don’t fit. I intended to make this one a short story to use that piece of cover art. Then I realized that I love the world and the idea, and that I need to seriously revise it, make it longer, and send it to an agent. This story gave me ambition. I have something like 30k words in on it. And it may be what I work on next.
- Hangman’s Dues – Ahh yes. Another “oh boy, this story” moment. Hangman’s Dues is something no one will ever read, probably. This story is emotionally twisted, hard, and dark. And I love it. Writing on it gives me great joy. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to find it a market, because it’s a warped, difficult romance where the heroine gets her man in the end, but in such a way that it makes you wince. To market it, I’d have to change it, and I don’t think I want to. I like it just how it is.
- Home from the Hill – That was the tentative name for a futuristic I wanted to write. Then it turned from futuristic action to straight romance, something I’d never tried before. And I loved it, even if it confused me, so I kept writing. Then I realized that it wasn’t futuristic anymore. It was historical. Which meant I had to rewrite a good five chapters of the thing and re-imagine the ending, not to mention do all the research for the time period. So I decided I’d write the original idea, and the historical both. But I put them on the backburner because, again, priorities. The sequel to my werewolf story comes first.
- Masquerade – I try not to talk about this one. This was the first story I wrote and submitted. And boy…does it suck.
That’s a lot of stuff hiding on my hard drive. Some of it’s good, some of it’s awful, but all of it’s valuable. It’s a lot of fun to look back over, and in some ways, it’s frustrating, because I feel like I have so much to do and not enough time to do it in. I’m excited about almost everything I write.
Some will surface again, get finished and published. Some will stay buried, where they should stay. Not all ideas should come into the light. Especially mine…
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