So, I've spent this weekend--the first real weekend of fall, I dare say--working on proposals for possible books. It occurred to me the other day that, maybe, my time would be better spent offering up a multitude of different projects for my agent and publisher to look over and pick and choose. This is the lesson I learned from working on my most recent work-in-progress: sometimes it's not worth it to go through the labor of writing a 350 page book, especially if you're unsure of it's ability to sell and succeed in today's market. Obviously, I love the story and that's what kept me writing--but I don't know that it's the right story to follow Brightly Woven. It certainly has it's fair share of problems, the least of which being its monstrous length, but I'm not sure I know how to fix them. So, for me, it's better shelve that story for now an move on. I don't think it's a waste to write a story that you don't ultimately submit, if only because you learn something new from every book you write. The first draft of Brightly Woven came easily, with a lot of energy--but that draft is nowhere near what you'll see on the shelves next March. Meanwhile, this last story was like pulling teeth--nothing came easily, and it felt like I was dragging each word out kicking and screaming. Some of it had to do with the fact that I was writing it from a different place in life--one where I felt an intense pressure to deliver something perfect and wonderful to my agent and publisher--and certainly some of it had to do with the fact that it's a very emotional story. So no, I don't regret writing the story, I'm only sorry that it took me a year to finish, and in that year I could have been working on something that I was sure would sell. I'm coming to realize that if I ever want to be a full-time writer, I'm going to have to try to produce a book every year or so. This is, obviously, easier said than done.
So, I'm working on three separate proposals right now, and if my publisher doesn't like any of them, I'll keep on keepin' on and write more. It's a little time consuming, but ultimately a really good practice to lay out your characters and plot before you start writing. I'm glad I have the luxury of writing proposals now, because my time has become so much more precious now that I'm working full time. It allows me to be very strategic about my career, which is a good thing!
So, I need to get back to working on sample chapters, but I want to remind you that the contest is still going on (details in the entry below). I just wanted to share this picture my bestie Carlin sent me as a joke entry. You might have heard that I started writing Brightly Woven as a birthday present for a friend--well, Carly is that friend! This is one of the few times it actually snow-snowed in Williamsburg, so we decided to go into Colonial Williamsburg and build little Frederico here.
I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend!