Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Final Edits and Continued Journeys

Two weeks ago I finished what I hope will be the final edit of Only Human! Besides the odd spelling mistake and some rearrangements with the number of pages in a chapter, I'm done. At least for a while.

For anyone interested, I managed to squeak out my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo! It was scary and there were a few days when I thought I wouldn't make it but I did. As of this week, I've gotten back to my sequel and all the pressures it brings. The thing is, I have a great ending in mind and great characters to bring me there. I'm just stuck on that ever so sticky middle of the book situation. When I finished editing OH a few weeks back, I pulled open Human Nature and plunged right in. I was scared and had my notebook ready to jot down all the problems...and found surprisingly little. I mean, does it need work? Yes! Will it need some definite editing TLC? Oh yeah! But it wasn't the mess my first book. It wasn't even close. It's altogether possible I'm seeing the payoff of all the research I've been doing in the last year.

When I told my Mom I'd finished, the first thing she wanted to know was if I'd saved the last draft before I'd began this last edit. As soon as I have an improved product, I can't wait to get rid of the embarrassing one cluttering up my computer and my writing life. But when she said it, I went to my computer and unearthed the previous copy from the trash bin. She really wanted to read them side to side because she really liked the last draft and she said she's afraid she won't like my new edit as much. I assured her that wouldn't be the case. I think in the future, despite the embarrassment it might bring, I'll enjoy having that old draft. If not for anything else, I can pull it up on a discouraging day and tell myself yes, I have gotten better.

In the meantime, I have all these thoughts floating in the back of my mind about what I want to pitch to a publisher. I have a whole list of them in mind, all sorts of things saved about query letters, and a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach that says I'm going to fail. I will fail but only if I look at it that way. Getting rejected once, twice, or even ten times isn't a failure. It's a learning curve. My last draft with it's bulky 115,000 word count and far too many uses of the word 'eye' and 'was' wasn't a failure. It's something I've used to move on.

All that being said, I don't love science fiction. It's what my Human series falls under but it isn't what I really like writing. I enjoy contemporary character sketches with funny moments, sad moments, and an all over feeling about how much you care about the characters. If I pitch something to an agent or a publisher, I want it to be in a genre that I'll keep writing in. As much work as I've put into my Human series, I don't want to be stuck writing science fiction. All these things leave me to figure out what I do want to use to represent myself.

I'll write again soon about the critique group I joined and the book I'm focusing on as the 'one' to send to the publisher. I promise I'll write before the date says 2016 :)

-Anna Leigh

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