Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just When I Think I'm Out...

...I get a pleasantly surprising email!

This is a good thing: my agent and I parted on good terms, and technically still have a few days left in our formal agreement. But naturally, anything that was undertaken before we agreed to go our separate ways is still covered by our previous arrangement. So guess what? Someone he queried quite awhile ago has expressed interest in seeing the entire MS. Yay, me. It would be amazing if this works out after all--lord knows I'd rather be writing my new book than finding another agent.

Submitted for Your Approval.

Well, not your approval, exactly, but that of my writer's group. Last night I surrendered all that exists of my novel-in-progress, "Mother Sucker" (working title): six chapters and about 25K words. I'd been working on it since March, but when my turn came up to submit, I only had about three chapters, which was hardly worth it, so I switched slots with a friend whose novel was already completed and used the intervening time to jam out three more chapters.

Part of the problem, if not ALL of the problem, is that I'm working without an outline. I can see maybe one chapter ahead, but beyond that, I'm groping. I may just use the time while they're reading the first installment to rough something out. I was giving the "no outline" (or "blank page," as Carolyn Wheat, author of "How to Write Killer Fiction," calls it) approach after my last outline resulted in a 185K word book. Too much planning=too much writing. But now I'm hitting block after block because I can't see far enough ahead.

What's the consensus out there: outline or blank page?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

No Matter What Happens...I Must Not Cry.

After much agonizing, deliberation and advice-seeking, I have decided to release my agent from further representation of "Ring of Fire." Not only that, I've decided to retitle it and give it a thorough once-over. I'm working with "Dead Ringer" for now, even though I know the publisher has the final word over titles and cover art, etc. I like the juxtaposition of a serious, ominous-sounding title with whimsical cover art. Think Carl Hiaasen or Tim Dorsey. The cover tells you it's not a hard-boiled suspense.

Of course, according to my (former) agent and the editors he's contacted, my book isn't a suspense novel, anyway. It has elements of suspense, yes, but it also has a love story (ick!) and humor (double ick!), qualifying it as "mainstream" or "commercial." I don't mind at all, but apparently, selling a mainstream/commercial book by a first-time author in today's market is a fool's errand.

So what's next? Try to stay positive, keep working on Book #2 and start searching for my next fool...er, agent. I'll keep you posted.