I started writing this book three years ago.
Scratch that. I started writing this book eight years ago.
It all started when I began my Ph.D. program at Houston and realized that, no, Virginia, a graduate student “salary” was not going to be enough to live on.
Shocking, I know. But I managed to survive off of less while in Gainesville. Of course, there I didn’t have a car, and though the cost of living was relatively the same, that car ate up a lot of money. Still, I’d dreamt that Houston would be a similar situation, my life constrained by money but not constricted.
I looked around for other jobs – writing for a video game company, tutoring for the local community college (the job I eventually took), teaching kids as a writer in the schools – and one that caught my fancy, of course, was writing a novel. For money. For Wizards of the Coast.
They had just begun (or, had started publishing, which, according to publishing timelines, means that the idea had begun at least two years previous) publishing novelizations of famous adventure modules. I’d read the one for Against the Giants and been quite thoroughly disappointed. So thoroughly, that I figured I could do better much, much easily.
Which was both a sign of my hubris and, hubrisly, a clear sign of the quality of the published work up for comment.
So, as per their requirements, I wrote the first chapter to a prospective novel, then mailed it off to their editorial department, and promptly, several months later, received a “Don’t call us, we’ll call you” letter in the mail that said, in short, we’ll keep your writing in mind for future projects.
No calling of us.
This was not surprising to me. At least, it wasn’t three years ago when I decided to finish the novel I’d started (after changing all the important details, essentially creating a new novel from the skeleton of the old and, in the process, scaring all the kids visiting the graveyard). I’d say the novel rose like a phoenix from the ashes, except that there was no corpse to burn, just a WANTED poster hanging on the post office wall.
So three years ago I completed the novel, now titled GOD’S TEETH, and, after a read-through and revisions, sent it off to agents. That agenting process bombed and, half a year later, I thought I understood why and went through a grand, full, complete revision process. I included a long scene that was only hinted at in the beginning, and wrote a new scene that I wanted to include in the first draft but left out. Why? Because by the time I reached the end of writing the first draft, I just wanted the words out of my head, as fast as possible.
I sent the manuscript out a few times again, but stopped pretty quickly because I’d lost heart. Partially at all the rejections I’d already received. Partially because I’d started a new novel that I was much more in love with (and that I felt was working better). Partially because I didn’t really know what to do next in terms of revision other than make better.
Well, that time has passed.
I’ve NaNoRevisMo for a completely arbitrary and artificial deadline!
I’ve the glimpse of the gem I first loved shining through the present mess of a manuscript!
I’ve a critique group who, though they won’t provide all (or even most) of the answers, will give me a starting point for revisions!
And I’ll lay it all out for you as I go along. Who doesn’t like dissection? Is anyone here afraid of blood?
Because oh, yes, Virginia, there will be (virtual, word-form, plot-oriented, surgically-necessary) blood.