I told myself at the beginning of the year I would do more posts on this blog about the journey from starting my first novel OF FATES CONVERGED to (god willing) getting it published, but I don’t think I’ve really kept that promise. Actually the most effort I’ve put into this space since the beginning of the year is the
posts, which have been pretty great, but are not in the spirit what I had originally started this blog for. And I still haven’t even finished those, as I’m up to S9 of SPN.
And they have gotten more hits that anything else I’ve posted though, so…
But I digress.
So where are we at right now with the books and the publishing and all that?
A couple of
ago, I discussed writing my second novel, THE LUMINOSITY OF BLACK and the need to return to the first one, OF FATES CONVERGED, for more edits. This includes a complete rewrite of the first chapter.
Not something I was really happy to have to do again, but as my fellow writers know, it’s imperative that the opening few pages of your novel catch the reader immediately. This is especially so for the writer trying to query a novel for the first time. Nailing down the opening for FATES has been the most challenging thing I’ve dealt with in my extremely short writing career.
just released a list of some of the greatest opening line in literature. There’s a ton of great ones in there, but may favorite has to be from Stephen King’s
. This line (and novel) blew me away when I first read it back in junior high and was one of the true drivers me wanting to become a writer later in life. Reading The Dark Tower, especially the first four books, was when I was first like ‘damn I real want to make something like this.’ So what is that great first line from THE GUNSLINGER?
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.
So simply, but so perfect. The line does the job that it’s supposed to – it sets up the action forthcoming and hooks the reader with an interesting premise. Who is this man in black and why is the gunslinger chasing him across the desert?
Boom. There it is. Perfect.
Now I’m not saying I’m going to be able to craft an opening line or chapter of FATES thats ‘s great as the ones mentioned above, but I’ve will need to find one that’s engaging to the reader and gives them an attachment to the main character, Alexia Anarita right from the get-go. So I thought for this post, maybe it would interesting to take a trip down memory lane and see how FATES’ opener has evolved and where I’m at with it now.
Way back when I wrote a
asking what I should do about writing my second novel. Would I continue the story of Alexia and company and craft the second volume of the FATES saga, or would I start a whole new story, in case FATES never saw the light of published day? This was coming off of a trip to
, where I came to realize that FATES was not quite ready for prime time yet.
From the response to that post I got, the general consensus was to go with the new story. Far be it from me to question the wisdom of you, dear readers, so that’s exactly what I did. It was hard to step away from the story I had spent the previous three years writing, but I knew it needed to be done. And I really didn’t completely walk away from FATES, I spent a couple of months editing it again in the fall, trying to get it into a more publishable condition. In fact, I’m just about to go back to the grim task of editing FATES one last time before querying again. Please allow Jon Snow and Ygritte to express my joy as I prepare to descend into the Edit Cave once again:
Yeah, not really looking forward to it, but one must do what one must do.
*Browses through Internet history*
Hey… what’s this thing in here with my name on it?
Oh yeeeeeeah… it’s that blog I haven’t updated since July!
Well, it’s a new year, why not a new blog post?
In all seriousness, I really do need to blog more. Originally, the whole point of this blog was to discuss my journey down that long hard road into the publishing world, but it turned out my first novel was not quite ready to begin that journey yet! Besides that little tidbit, the lack of blogging mostly comes from the fact that it’s often a toss up between writing a blog post or writing / editing one of my novels.
And guess what folks? The novel almost always wins.
So You Wrote a Novel? Good for You. Now What?
OF FATES CONVERGED, my first novel, volume one of the sprawling fantasy epic I’ve had in my head for the last 15 or so years is finished. Months of retooling, editing, and all that good stuff, in the bag.The querying has finally begun in earnest (and I got a request for 100 pages already *does the Cat Daddy*), but the question that looms large is – now what?
This is the dilemma – should continue writing the sequel to OF FATE CONVERGED (tentatively titled OF AMBITIONS UNBOUND) with the hope that over the next months (or year, or however long it takes) that an agent will pick up this first volume. The thing is though, even if agent does pick it up, there’s no guarantee that it will be sold to a publisher. And then if a publisher does take it what if nobody buys it? What if it languishes – collecting dust on store shelves and unclicked into Amazon carts? What happens to the other four books in the series I have planned? Scuttled unceremoniously into the the endless of void of the Never-to-be-Read?
I’m really getting ahead of myself.
Yet Another Amanda Palmer Post
I reckon most of you have seen this already (it went viral on the Interwebs, as these things are wont to do), but here is the video of
Amanda F’n Palmer
‘s TED Talk. She speaks regarding the sharing of an artist’s work and life experiences with his or her audience.
Traversing the Vast Slushy Wasteland
I don’t know how many of you saw it, but last week a literary agent named
live tweeted her slush pile for all the world to see. Part of me found it to be a fascinating exercise, a window into the thought process of someone who literally sees hundreds of novel pitches everyday and what she looks for in a submission. The other part of me found it absolutely harrowing to see the work someone may have spent years creating, pouring every once of their being into, dismissed because the first few sentences weren’t exciting enough or the premise seemed a bit cliched. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Ms. Udden is a some kind of dream crushing monster or something, she’s just doing her job, and a very difficult one at that. I just found the idea that if you aren’t able to hook an agent it a couple sentences or paragraphs, that’s it. Game over. Thanks for playing. It’s a terrifying prospect for the unpublished author.
It just so happened that one the same day, one of my Twitter pals, the inimitable Ksenia Anske (for reals people,
this woman) wrote on her
about the sometimes pervasive doom and gloom that hangs like pall over the publishing industry. It seems like every other article you read online is about how difficult it is to find an agent, get them to accept your manuscript, then for them to find a publisher, market your book, sell said book, and so on and so forth. It is an incredibly long and difficult process from finishing the manuscript you have been working years on to (hopefully) seeing on bookshelves.
You know them, you hate them, but if you’re like me, you can’t help but love them. These are the villains of your favorite stories, and I submit to you, my readers, that they are the most important part of those stories.
Hey! I’m a (Diabolical) Person, Too!
When I started writing OF FATES CONVERGED, one of my top priorities was to develop believable and captivating villains to plague or heroes during the course of the story. One thing that really irks me is when the “Big Bad” is not given ample back story or just pops up at the end for the heroes to fight, just because. This seems to happen on occasion in fantasy fiction (I’m looking at you
), and it drives me bonkers. Why should I care if they defeat this evil guy? And why is he evil, because the author said so? Because he wears a black (or red) cloak and laughs maniacally? He serves no purpose but to be a final boss battle? Yeah, I don’t think so. That said, there are many great villains fantasy fiction who are great characters in their own right:
This is it, the moment you’ve all been waiting for – that post when an aspiring fantasy author introduces him or herself to the world at large.
A Little About Me
I’m a native son of Upstate New York and I’ve spent almost the entirety of my adult life working in the world of public finance. It’s been a good gig for about ten years now, politics and economics have always been of great interest to me and this career has given me a chance to indulge in both. There has always been another passion in me as well – a passion to create. I’ve always been drawn to science fiction and fantasy stories throughout my life – books, films, games, and comics. If it had robots, dragons, capes or any combination of those – I was there. I loved it all, but growing up it was always just a hobby, whimsy to pass the time. In all those years I never attempted to make a story of my own.