Friday, February 4, 2011

Leaping into the Void

So, submitted another short story today. Depending on the tendency to believe either the glass is half-full or the glass is now empty, broken, and being brandished as a weapon, that's either twice the chance for publication or twice the chance for rejection. I think we all know which way I lean.

And remember what I was saying about poor impulse control? And how sometimes I do things because they seem like a dandy idea at the time but, in retrospect, are either insane or at least inadvisable? Well, I've been casting about for sources of motivation, experimental strategies to get me off my metaphorical butt and attend to all the bits and bobs in my metaphorical desk drawers.

So in looking at the vampire novel, which is a terrifically unwieldy at 160,000 current words, I started hacking away like an intrepid jungle explorer with a pith helmet and a machete. The first 8 chapters or so went swimmingly. In fact, chapter two was completely obliterated because it was chock full of stuff I said better somewhere else or stuff I didn't need to say at all.

Sitting there and looking at what I'd done, I was in one of those moods, the moods where I look at my own work and say, "Hey, this is actually pretty good!" (This is opposed to my more usual mood, where I look at my own work and say, "Hey, who wrote this crap?")

Gripped in some mania (and I wasn't even drinking), I decided a it would be a great motivational tool if I sort of shopped it around -- after all the first few chapters looked so good -- and see if I got any feedback. Well, file that brilliant idea under "B" for "be careful what you wish for," because, yes, there is a publisher who wants to see the novel. Said publisher would like to see the novel at under 100,000 words. By the end of March or so.

This is why, when I'm advising unpublished writers, I tell them to never, every query until you've got a finished product. Never. As in don't. Do. It. 

After the initial 10 or so seconds of excitement, the very tiny, underused, reasonable part of my brain reminded the rest of my brain that this means I need to cut the novel by a third over the next couple of weeks, which will entail major revisions and probably executing 1-3 major characters without even giving them so much as a blindfold and a cigarette.  (and much like my children, threatening them with death makes them behave no better, they just sit there on the page, smirking).

Giving the fact that I have basically two-full time jobs, one that pays for groceries and tuition, and one that pays nothing and consists of me endlessly chauffeuring people to various locations, I'm uncertain how this is going to work.  I guess that 2.5 hours I was wasting foolishly sleeping is going need to be put to better use.

1 comment:

  1. Holy Smaug Gobblers. I'll hold off on the other two short stories until you're 'free' again, shall I?

    ...on the other hand, you've got a publisher's attention at ALL, so I'm green with envy. But... two weeks to chop a third out of... ow. Just OW. I hope it's even possible to do it without losing essential plot points.

    Good luck, lady. I'll ask your cat to stand guard against the dark goblins who want to crawl into your ears and destroy your focus and inspiration.