Saturday, June 07, 2008

Off to Antarctica ... or Maybe San Francisco

I've completed the fourth or fifth draft of my first novel. (The reason for the seeming uncertainty is that while writing it the first time, I recognized that -- after 100,000 words -- I'd not only failed to tell a story worth reading, I wasn't close to completing it, so I made major changes. Does that constitute a first draft?)

Actually I finished this latest iteration about a week ago, but who's counting? In addition, I've been researching agents for several weeks and will ready myself for the first attempts to secure representation. I expect to mail a query letter to at least one agency by the end of June.

To be honest, I'm both excited and nervous. A friend of the family is the son of a novelist who has many novels to her credit. While there's no guarantee of anything, I think there's a chance that she'll read my novel; perhaps she'll recommend an agent who might be receptive to my work, perhaps she'll offer a critique to make it better and more marketable; she might simply say, "Nice try, but I doubt you'll sell it." She may not read it at all.

I know another author, Joan Winfield Currie, who's gone the self-publishing route. Earlier today, while helping to man a booth at the Bonnie Brae Highland Games, I finished up my profile of her for the Clan Currie Society. What won't be in the article is the good advice she's given me about how to market my novel. I've been fortunate in my years as a journalist to have met and befriended many people who've been generous with the knowledge they've gained about publishing. I'm grateful to them all.

So, what's next? Well, I've had two novels on my mind for a while. Actually, one for many years, which takes place in part down in Antarctica. I've had that one ruminating for so long, it's probably started to ferment. I'd like to get to know the characters that live in that book more intimately.

The other novel is probably more fun, however. It's a story in the fashion of Christopher Moore, who is simply fun to read and a master of creating wonderful silliness, which is something I appreciate. I actually started this novel (set in San Francisco since that's where Chris Moore lives) during the 2007 National Novel Writing Month competition. But it's a different direction than my first novel and the Antarctica tale is more along those lines. Both will eventually be written.

So, I'm not quite sure where my mental exercising will go next: Antarctica or San Francisco. But either way, I'm off on a new adventure.

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