Last blog post was about not selling the book. This blog post is about starting again from scratch. Starting again is like a beautiful flower of possibility opening after a long winter of cold, grey and uncertain weather that rains rewrites, snows line edits then melts away leaving you with a manuscript no one wants.
After A Darkness Against the Stars not selling I had a chat with Rob, my agent, about what to do next. He had some suggestions and a couple of editors had some suggestions and my friends had some suggestions too. So I wrote a bit, I outlined five ideas I thought had legs and wrote a bit of a couple of them. I also wrote about ten thousand words on something an editor had suggested might be a good fit for me. Showed it to Rob who though I'd missed what they meant and then wrote another ten thousand words which were nearer the mark. Rob also looked through what I've suggested and told me what he liked and what he didn't. In all I wrote about 50'000 words of experiments and what-do-I-enjoys.
But, picture me at this point. I am in a quantum state. I have four more books roughly outlined that occur within the same universe as 'A Darkness' and a few short stories. I LIKE that universe. I also have five ideas, most of which my agent thinks have legs, and I have quite a bit written on a thing that an editor has suggested I have a go at. I am the proverbial pig in mud. Lack of ideas is not and never has been a problem.
So, what do I do?
Can you guess?
The answer is...
NONE OF THE ABOVE!
Let's be honest. I mentioned in my last post about the reason for doing this and the reason is I love it. Although I would no doubt enjoy doing what was suggested by an editor if it didn't sell then I'd probably be a bit gutted. I'd much rather be hung for a wolf than a sheep. If I get turned down again then at least I've spent -indeterminate amount of time- on something I really want to do. I took a couple of elements from things Rob liked and rolled them up with something else and ended up with a thing.
Here's an aside. If my agent had suggested any of the following:-
A coming of age.
A teenage 'hero'.
Introducing romance elements.
I would have flounced off in a huff. Well, I wouldn't. I would have said, 'yeah, I'll think about that.' Which is my version of flouncing off in a huff cos I'm not really a huff type of person. The jury is out on flouncing
However, what I am doing has all the above elements because I am contrary like that. And they are needed for the plot.
At first the new thing was called 'The Jester's Twist' which I really liked but Rob wasn't as keen . As I wrote it though that title made less and less sense - the book proved to be about a something else. So now it has a more definite title, which is 'The Uncrowned Heir'. Its first draft is finished, at 85'000 words. I wrote it in six weeks which is pretty quick. It's either going to be really good as it works, or awful. TUH is a fantasy whodunnit which doesn't seem to be a very popular thing but I think it has really likeable central characters that will pull you along. It's written to be one of three and because I know what I want to do I can pre-seed it with stuff that carries forward to other books.
I let a couple of people read the beginning few chapters and the feedback was that they were pretty excited by it.
Now I've just started my first edit of it so no doubt my next blogpost will be about how much I hate it and what a fool I have been to write such rubbish.
1. Woe, poor me, etc. Feel free to make cash donations if it will salve your conscience.
2. See 1.
3. That title is so dramatic. It really is a pity.
4. Write fantasy. Everyone wants to read fantasy. Don't be too weird.
5. Picture my physicist friends tutting and pointing out this is a very bad usage of 'quantum'. At least I know that. I hope that gives them a Quantum of Solace. Ha ha. Oh my. So angry.
6. Can you say Hubris?
7. I picture my agent shaking his head while saying 4.
8. It isn't. I am practically built of flounce. In imperial measurement I weigh ten stone eleven flounces.