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Jun 30, 2010

Fresh Look

I have loathed my wip. Last year, when I'd been working on it for a while, and agents had been rejecting it right and left, I revised and revised until the words just melted into one molten mass of Sucks Rocks. Every revision seemed to drag it further into the abyss of Suckiness.

Now, returning to it after ten months hiatus for a fresh look, I was mildly surprised upon reading it. I enjoyed reading it. Hey! My wip improved while I wasn't looking! How did that happen?

Were the revisions worth it? Yes and no.

In some ways, I think the original story as I conceived it -- all one book -- was solid. It was 180,000 words, however. Way too long to have a chance at publication. The excess might have been all fat, but I didn't (and still don't) think so. It had to be that long because of the number of characters, the amount of world building, and the number of plotlines. In early revisions, I cut it down to 140,000 words, and frankly, eviscerated it. There's a reason fantasy stories run in series.

On the other hand, when I turned the story into a series, I had to add characters and plotlines, or it would have been too thin. I've done that. The world is richer now. I've invested more in my characters. The first book is complete, and the other books in the series are substantially outlined. All have sequences of scenes already written. The end of the series is written.

I've spent ten years working on this series. True, that includes periods like the last ten months, where I did no work on the project. It also includes periods where I wrote steadily, four to fourteen hours a day, every day, for years in a row.

Maybe that was a mistake. One of the new agents I queried works at an agency I have queried before. I envisioned the experienced agent warning the new agent, "That old chestnut is still floating around? That loser needs to give it a rest. Write something new already, you no-hit-wonder." (This is a conceit, of course, since I doubt my query sparked any discussion or recognition whatsoever. I'm sure the new agent is perfectly capable of rejecting projects on her own!)

I do, in fact, have other projects and other ideas. So why don't I just put this wip in a drawer and stop harassing innocent agents with it? Why did I revise & query yet again?

I still like the story. I still love my characters. I still think their tale is worth telling. And frankly, there is so much world-building involved in a good fantasy epic, it's incredibly difficult to walk away from a world I know so intimately.

Oh, yeah, and I'm an obsessive lunatic who still imagines I can perfect this book.

8 comments:

Ban said...

Well here's one fan who is glad you haven't given up. Even the very little I've read has my interest and honestly ... honestly, I hope to read the whole thing someday.

Tara Maya said...

Thanks, Ban. :)

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Your project sounds absolutely fascinating! I think it's wonderful you've stuck with it for so long. If it helps you any, I'm still working on MONARCH. I completely rewrote it after you read it and gave me your feedback, and then I revised three times after that. Now it's on another revision. Nathan Bransford was very interested in it, and then he eventually said no after we went through some revisions on it together. One other agent was interested in it from another contest I (stupidly) entered, but she said no, too.

And I know why.

It still needs work. It's one of those hugely epic projects that is going to take me 3 more years to get right, I think. I haven't even truly queried it. I know it's not ready.

As far as your project goes, it sounds like you love it a lot. That's so important!

Tara Maya said...

I'm glad to hear you're still working on Monarch. I wasn't sure if you would want me as a Beta reader again (ahem), but, if you did, just let me know! I'm available during the summer at least. :)

And of course, I'm totally excited to see what you've done with the Cinderella story.

Michelle Davidson Argyle said...

Hah, I didn't know if you'd want to read it again! For all the mess it was before. It's still got a ways to go, but it's closer. I'd love to have you beta read again if you have time. I'll let you know.

scott g.f.bailey said...

What about the Super Secret Project you had last year, hmm?

Stephanie McGee said...

It can be so painful to walk away from that world you've spent all those endless hours building up. I hope it doesn't ever come to that for you. Good luck with the project.

Tara Maya said...

Scott, the Secret Novel is still simmering. I'll discuss it in a later post, perhaps.