Saturday, October 23, 2010

Here's What You Missed...

Wow, it's...uh...been a while since I've updated!

I shoved aside most of my other writing commitments in order to focus on getting my novel done, and I'm pleased as punch to say that I did it! Back in early July I told the Husband that I would finish my novel - approximately 75,000 words - by our son, the Juban Princeling's birthday, which is October 8. That would be 5,000 words per week over 15 weeks. And I did it, with a week to spare, even!

Sometimes it was hard, sometimes the words flowed, but the important thing, I think, is that I have a first draft of a novel. This is something I've been trying to write for the past 10 years. I have more first chapters of this damn book than I can even think about, so I feel satisfied that I've finally made it all the way through.

People often ask me what my book is about, and the short, easy (but mostly wrong) answer is: vampires.

The longer, more complicated, and more correct answer is that this is a book about the friendship between two supernatural women (one a Lithuanian witch, one a Japanese vampire) who have traveled the world together for over 500 years and now find themselves facing an increasingly terrifying enemy. Can they survive the devastation and horror around them, even as their own darker impulses start to take over their friendship?

Hmmm, I think I have my 30-second blurb there...

The first draft of my novel is now in the hands of my Alpha Readers, four people close to me that are familiar with the genre and know me well enough to be brutally honest about my take on it. While they work on that, I'm reading and doing the writing exercises from "Self-Editing for Fiction Writers" by Renni Browne and Dave King, making a spreadsheet of potential agents to query, and devouring other dark/urban fantasy books. Some are by authors I'm already a fan of (Lori Devoti, Ilona Andrews, Kelly Armstrong) and others are established authors in the genre that I'm "meeting" for the first time and, so far, thoroughly enjoying (Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Kat Richardson).

The next step for me will be to revise my manuscript based on "Self-Editing" and the feedback from my Alpha Readers, then send a second draft to my five Beta Readers: three are familiar with the genre, one is doing line edits, and the fifth person is a longtime friend who will, again, be brutally honest with me. When they are done, I'll make more revisions, and then, hopefully, have a polished draft ready so I can begin the query process for an agent.

It's a lot of work, but I have to admit that I am really enjoying this! I get to read my favorite books by amazing authors (as "homework"), and I finally have a finished product to tinker with and prep for submission! After 10 years I finally feel like I've written the story that was meant to come out of me.

And, I already have plans in the works for the book's sequel, as I intend for this to be the first of a trilogy, which will (hopefully) be the jumping-off point for a larger series starring some of the other characters, ala Kelly Armstrong's Otherworld series or Lori Devoti's Amazon series.

Meanwhile, in non-writing news, the Juban Princeling turned 2 years old a couple of weeks ago...I know. I KNOW! I KNOW!!!! How that happened, I have no idea. Wasn't he JUST born?

He's doing so great, though. His pediatrician would not stop gushing over him at his 2-year checkup last week. He's still in the 90-95th percentile for height (he's a full 36" tall now) and 50th for weight, which means he takes after the men on my mother's side of the family: tall and lanky. His favorite word is "No!", which I know is normal for 2-year olds, but he is nevertheless an overall sweet, agreeable little boy. He loves to feel helpful and loves to do what we do. He chatters up a storm, even if we can only understand every tenth word he says. When we call my husband while he's at work, the Princeling loves to tell his dada about his day so far.

I'm so happy that my little boy is so happy and healthy. And, thankfully, he's also very independent. Sometimes I feel like a bad mommy at the end of the day, turning on the TV and letting him play by himself while I sit on the couch and read "Self-Editing" or one of my fantasy novels. But then I remember that the two of us just spent the whole day together, going to music classes or the playground or a playdate at one of his many friends' houses, and that he, too, needs his "alone" time when I'm not up in his face making him do this or go there. I'm so lucky to have a little boy who is so independent and content to entertain himself.

And I'm so lucky to have such a wonderfully supportive and loving husband, and so many wonderful friends who are all eager to help me out in my crazy writing career!