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Friday, June 11, 2010

The verdict is in...

and it's slightly disappointing.  DREAM GIRL, is not actually finished.  Revision is on hold because I have to write a new ending.  It's frustrating because, I'm sure you've noticed, I was incredibly excited to get this wrapped up so I could start querying agents.  Now, I'm no longer sure how far away from that goal I am.  I'm back to outlining and plotting. 
Even though this is a disappointing setback, it's not all bad either.  I'm proud of myself for realizing there is more work to be done and that I'm committed to doing this project properly.  I hope the payoff will be a stronger finished product that will hook an agent. 
The next phase is not as close as I imagined, but it's also not a far off distant dream.  I just have to get through a foggy patch and I'll be back where I wanted to be. 
In the meantime, I'm enjoying my fan page on Facebook:  Sarah Perry, Children's and Young Adult Author.  There's a contest there that ends tonight at midnight.  Check it out for a chance to have one of my DREAM GIRL characters named after you.  Since I have to rewrite the ending, there's a pretty juicy, yet nameless character who is now in the mix.  Could be your namesake!  :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Oh no.

Revising is going along beautifully now.  I have 3 chapters to go and then I'll be able to send it to my critique team...or do I?  As I was working on my revisions last night, a horrible thought seeped into my brain.  "Perhaps," it said, "it isn't a good idea to leave Dream Girl as you do and continue in a sequel.  Perhaps you should continue on and make it into one larger book...to the tune of around 90,000-100,000 words."  There was a moment of panic before I answered this rogue thought.  "No, no no no no!"  I said.  "That's too horrible.  I'm continuing with the plan."  Whew, crisis averted. 
 I had recently read an agent blog post about great books with poor endings.  One of the commenters said how much they hate endings that don't wrap things up and obviously leave an opening for a sequel.  Hmmm.  I had the first sneaking suspicion that I might be guilty of doing that very thing.  I hastily retreated from that thought and back to the safety of revising. 
But today is a new day.  As I was rocking the baby for his morning nap, the thought came back to me.  My ending isn't good enough, but is there any way to do it right, given the circumstances of my story, and still have a sequel?  I used to think there was way too much information left to contain in one debut novel, but now I'm wondering if that's true.  Are 90,000-100,000 words too much?  Which option would be more appealing to an agent or editor?  Can I be honest with myself and put off the excitement of querying and write the rest of the story as one novel?  Could I rework my current ending and leave things as is and go ahead and query?  Would an agent be interested enough in the project to take me on and give me their expert answer about the ending?  Could I ask any more questions about this? 
As our friend Joseph Conrad so brilliantly said in HEART OF DARKNESS, "The horror...the horror." 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

All ya gotta do is complain

Well, after the angst and suffering of my last post, I broke through the wall and successfully continued the revising!  If I'd known the only way to dislodge the fuzz in my brain was to publicly complain about how difficult the revisions were, I would have done it a long time ago.  I'm now on Ch. 35 of 43.  I have either cut or combined 6 chapters and I'm feeling good about things again.  (and in case you were overcome with worry about how I handled the party invitation, I cut it and made the party a much smaller scene.  I also trashed all the filler chapters.  Why were they there in the first place?  I don't know, but now they're gone forever.  Whew.  Now we can all rest easy.)
I hope to be done with these first round revisions by the end of this month.  Then it's off to my team of trusted individuals for their brainpower and then I'll revise again based on their comments.  After that, I expect to be agent ready and then the query process will begin.  I have already selected the first 10 agents I want to query.  In a perfect world, at least one of them will be chomping at the bit to snatch me up and then we'll wait for the inevitable book deal.  If not, you'll have a lot of posts about rejection.
In the meantime, I've put another pot on the fire and have resurrected my picture book manuscript, PAJAMA GIRL.  I read an article in the SCBWI Bulletin about MeeGenius.  They publish picture books, in a digital format that can be read online or downloaded to your Iphone, Ipad, etc.  Is this the wave of the future?  Is it a fad?  Is it career death or a career starter?  I'm not sure yet.  I'd love your comments on it.  I'm considering submitting PAJAMA GIRL to them and see what they say.  Could be interesting, could be fun, could be a bad idea.  Time will tell. 
I'd love to see a ton of comments on this one, so get to it!