Blog, Writing

Zero to Hero?


Since spring of 2011, I have been working on a project that has taken many forms throughout the years and stood as my education in WRITING. It started first as BENEATH THE GRANDFATHER CLOCK, a book with little plot coherency, horrible pacing, and a word count of fewer than 50,000 words when its first draft found completion in spring of 2014. Yet, the characters held some promise and I had stuck it out to a completion of sorts, so I continued editing. I finished again in the summer of 2015, this time with a new title THE ERINYES at 70,000 words, and found a genre—Historical Mystery. I decided I would begin querying spring of 2016 on April Fools, because why the heck not? To be creative is to be the fool after all. By the time I *thought* I was ready to query, I had again changed the title to RED SKY AT MORNING and had a word count of 105,000 words. I sent it out and crickets.


Summer of 2016, I decided to go to a summer literary festival. There I learned valuable lessons in the “Business of Writing.” I strengthened my query and cut down my manuscript to 95,000 words. This time when I sent out my query I got two bites, one partial request, and one full request. Both ended in rejection. So, I went back to the drawing board. I entered pitching contests on Twitter, where I was always lucky enough to get requests. One of those requests, in January of 2017, turned into an R&R. RED SKY AT MORNING morphed from present tense to past tense over the spring and over the summer from adult fiction to young adult fiction. Summer of 2017, I also found AMAZING critique partners, which you can learn about here. Again, I entered Twitter pitch competitions and got bites—lots of them, ten requests on my pitch, which turned into one full manuscript request, and two partial requests. From the slush, I received one partial request and one full request. From that, I have received three R&Rs.


But this is a conversation about inspiration, not just my querying journey. From day one, this project has inspired me and pushed me forward. Yes, there were many days when I had to force myself to keep writing and equally as many days I wanted to give up altogether. Yet, I kept at it because the tinge of inspiration kept whispering in my ear—even when it was the smallest voice there. However, with this draft—which must be the eleventh—I know what I need to do, I mostly know how to do it, I want to do it, yet my inspiration is whispering about a different story. I love RED SKY AT MORNING with all of my heart. I want to see it in print and write the full trilogy. Yet, and I’ve said yet quite a bit, I can’t find the motivation—it feels a little too much like work and like it will need a perfect and precise surgery that I can never complete. My feet feel the edge of the precipice on which I stand and the possibility of capturing my dream of publication feels the closest its ever been. Each step of the way I have managed to make progress and improve. I know I can edit this book and I probably will. But I am not sure I can right now.

With a winter filled with finals, the holidays, international travel, and a bad case of the flu, I hope that I will get past this funk. I hope that it doesn’t mean that I have “Inspiration Block” on this project of my heart. But, maybe, seven years of one story just does that.


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