Friday, July 6, 2007

Fifteen Tries Later...

Logging in to Blogger is turning out to be a good metaphor for breaking in as a novelist. There is a great deal of head-pounding involved. Blogger keeps forgetting I exist. I feel like I'm sending a query letter into the void every time I try to log in. Oy.

I'm in a bit of a void book-wise as well. My attorney, who did a fantastic job going over my contract, is dealing with the publisher directly. I don't particularly want to play phone-tag and I'd like this part to go as fast as possible. I want my story notes!

I spent the last three days re-reading the book and cleaning up things here and there. I shouldn't mention how long it has been since last I read it; suffice it to say it was one graduate degree ago. I was pleased. I was surprised. I have claimed that writing screenplays for a few years made my writing lean; turns out it was plenty lean back then. 

So what's the #1 problem I see now? It's more a publishing problem than a book problem, since, heck, I like the book. The book is working. It's a "good yarn" as one of my writer friends would say. The problem is the dreaded genre mix. It's a science fiction mystery. I had no idea until I read the press release about the publishing contract. In my mind it was always pure science fiction. My mother, who reads more mysteries than the folks at the Edgar Awards, spotted it right away. Mystery!

The deuce you say!

Is this why agents in the past have said they didn't know what to do with the book? I don't know. Is crossing genres a good idea? Well, for a first-time novelist, probably not. Is this probably the one chance I had to get this book published? Yep. Am I going to do whatever it takes to get the book ready and launched? You bet. Where will it be shelved? I have no idea.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007


Last week was the Santa Barbara Writers Conference, and as usual it went by too quickly. Anybody interested in a real, working conference? This one's for you. I was cranky some years ago when SBWC added an Agent and Editor Day, but these things happen. I prefer a pure, working conference, but the lure of pitching to agents is real, and it is fun to watch the mania from afar.

As for my agent-less self, progress continues. I like my new attorney a great deal, and he has told me the contract looks good. A few minor changes and we'll be good to go with rewrites. Still haven't seen any story notes, so happiness lingers. I am in that post-conference mania for reading and writing. I'd love to get back to work on the new novel, but I should save that good energy for rewriting the old. Sigh.