20 June 2009

Letting Go.... um, maybe... not yet.... i don't wanna....

I had a thought the other day... I might shelve Charlotte and Sorry's Not Enough for good.  Just set it aside and move on.  I'm still as in love with the story as I was from when I wrote the very first word.  But I'm thinking Charlotte may not be the one to launch my career.  I'm really excited about Confessions and Marisol's story, and I feel like one of those would be more likely to be picked up by an agent than Sorry's Not Enough.  They have stronger hooks.  A young woman grieving the death of her fiance, exploring her faith (or lack thereof), and falling in love with her dead fiance's brother.  Yeah, I'd say that packs more punch than Charlotte's story, which I can barely even sum  up in one succint sentence.

Then there's Marisol.  I think Marisol could be my big ticket.  I was sitting down to gather my thoughts the other day (I need to sort out my ideas and figure out which book they belong to.  I'm thinking there will be at least 3 books in the series!) and wrote a nice little blurb to sum up the first book.  It goes something like this:
With her sexy roommate Zane knocking on her bedroom door, a boss who likes a bit on the side, and the rest of Philadelphia's men to conquer, Marisol is having too much fun to worry about climbing the fashion industry's ladder.  But when her boss's philandering ways cost him his co-designer and fashion show coordinator, under-achieving Mari must rise to the occasion.  While pressures mount at work, Zane tests her boundaries in bed with an endless supply of techniques, locations, and partners.
Sounds like fun, right?  Besides, show me another erotica novel with a bilingual, half Puerto Rican, sexy size 14 main character who enjoys porn, fashion, football, ice hockey, and safe sex?  And oh yeah, to top it off, she loves all things British (especially Dr. Who), blogs about sex, and will try just about anything once.  Mari is crazy.  CRAZY, I tell you!  If she doesn't land me an agent somehow, somewhere, I might as well stop writing.

So anyway.  Back to Charlotte and whether to put her away.  I'm reluctant to do it.  That's my baby.  Plus, I'm not sure if my newfound "acceptance" of her non-publishability is just me being honest and market-savvy, or if it's just me being scared to go for it.  Because let's face it, I haven't exactly been querying my pants off.  Less than 10 queries, pretty much all form rejections.  But I know writers who have queried 20, 40, 50 or more agents for one project, and keep on trucking.  Am I just backing out because I'm afraid?  Could be.  It's a bit of a tendency of mine.  All bravado in words, but coward in action.

Is it that whole fear of failure thing?  Or fear of success?  Fear of owning up to who and what I am and really living it every day, out loud, and not just in cyberspace?  I don't know.  I like to think I'm being smart and unemotional by looking at the black and white facts.  I find that as I continue writing and starting new projects, the quality of writing is getting better and better.   And no amount of revision can really bring Charlotte up to that level.  Or can it?  It could be that I'm just afraid of all that hard work.  Or impatient.  I want to move on and really immerse myself in these new projects, but a big part of my time is being spent worrying about whether Sorry's Not Enough is in the best possible shape.  Is my revising really finished?  Is there something I could do better?  I've even toyed with the idea of splitting it up into two books again, which would require major overhauling, and writing about 50,000 new words to make the second half long enough for its own book. 

I've been working on it for so long now, maybe it just needs a long rest while I work on something else.  I tried to set it down - and managed to do that - for a while.  But it was only a few weeks.  Maybe it should be a few months or more.

Am I just being a lazy coward?  My crit group likes it, and the few friends who've read it like it also.  But that doesn't mean an agent will love it enough to rep it.  Maybe I should stop rambling about it on my blog and make a decision.  I'll let you know as soon as I make it.


  1. Second time this topic has come up in discussion today. Another writer friend of mine, who has an outstanding novel, has put it away. Forever, perhaps. She queried 250 times, no success. I've read it - it's better than most of the crap at the bookstore. She's still writing other things, and says her first novel - the one being set aside now - taught her a lot about writing, and her newer work is better.

    I've queried Carry Me Away about 40 times - with stops to revise at a couple different points. I plan to continue sending it out, while writing (working on 2 novels at the moment). I do see how my newer work is stronger in many ways, but Carry is my baby and I'm still hopeful it will be published. But I'm realistic now - it might not be. It's not ready to go in the drawer yet, but I realize that time may come. Many, perhaps most, successful published writers did not sell their first. Some have written a dozen novels before getting one published, then become an overnight sensation. Sometimes after getting another novel published, writers go back to their first one, pull it out of the drawer and polish it up, and voila! second novel published is the first one they wrote.

    My advice (which is worth so much since I've never been published either) is to keep querying Charlotte while writing new stuff. 10 queries is nothing. When you finish your new novel, re-query all the agents plus others with your newest work.

    Mainly - don't be afraid of failure. And certainly don't be afraid of success. I need you to find an agent, and then put a good word in for me. ;)


  2. thanks robb :-) i guess i just wonder if i'm capable of doing both at once (querying one while writing the others and trying not to take years to get them done lol). i probably will query a bit more. i like to send to agents who also accept sample pages haha. and i haven't done that since i overhauled the beginning, so maybe that will help.

    here's the deal: you help me polish the query, and if i land a deal i'll put in a good word for you. k? haha.

  3. I find it difficult to market one while writing another, but the only way I can do it is to just set aside a certain time each week, or twice a month, to do nothing but send out query letters, track previous letters, research new agents to query, etc. Even then, it's easier said that it is to be diligent and disciplined at it. But it's necessary. Imagine when you become successful - writing one book, editing another, doing a book tour on a previous book, working with Speilberg on changes to the screenplay, ...

    And yes, I'll definitely give you any advice or edits you want on a query letter/package. Anytime.

  4. Um, sorry, NO! You may not shelf Charlotte! Do you hear me? NOOOOO!
    Okay, keep writing, and I can't wait to read about Mari, but NOOOO.

    Query Charlotte. Minor editing first. (holler and I'll help)

    Work on Mari and if you don't have an agent yet, the start querying that. But do not, under any circumstances give up on Sorry's Not Enough!

    Got it?
    Oh, and go to my blog and read this, I think I posted it for you. :) Sarah (from auth)

  5. Shelving it doesn't necessarily mean it'll never see the light of day again. Do what you need to do to get yourself an agent, and then once you're agented, and have that first book published, drag Charlotte out, and hand it to your agent.

    I gave up on Twice Bitten after wasting over 2 years on it, only to wake up one day to realize the market for paranormal romances was flooded. I was even 200 pages into a new para romance, when I decided it would be crazy to waste the time, if what I was trying to do is get published.

    No more going through 50 edits. No more wasting time on a story that isn't right for the current market. No more.

    You already know, Jen. I changed genres. Wrote it in 9 months, had parts of it crtiqued as I wrote, went through one full edit, and started querying.

    If it's not the right story, move on to the next.

  6. Oh, yeah! And I totally think Marisol will do it for you!! The little I read is fantastic!

  7. aww gee, thanks guys. don't worry, i don't think i'm ready to give up on Charlotte just yet. i just need some time to get my sh*t together lol. not to mention get a bit of confidence back. you guys helped though. :-)


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