Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Howdy! (waves hand in your direction)

Well, here it is - the start of a journey.  Technically the journey began last year, when I started writing my first manuscript ... but now is when I'm beginning to get serious about getting published, so I say the journey starts now!  Here's where things stand:

I have one manuscript, Susannah Saves the Swamp, that I consider finished and ready to submit to agents. My second one (The Indian in the Garden) is in the final throes of my editing process and is about to be sent out to test readers.  I finished the rough draft of a third story (working title is DIY) on Monday, and I'm procrastinating on typing that sucker up even as I write this blog entry.

All three of those are chapter/middle grade books, focusing on characters that are in 2nd-6th grade.  They aren't easy reader books - they're books for kids who don't mind lots of description in their stories and are willing to occasionally look up a new word or two.  I'm proud of the characters I've created, and I think the stories I've written are uniquely mine to tell.

I have two more potential books that are bumping around on paper right now, too.  One is definitely a Young Adult book, since there is - gasp! - kissing in it.  That one is on its second incarnation - it started out as an adult book written from a different point of view, and boy, let me tell you, was swapping out all those pronouns fun to do! Right now it's stalled about two chapters from the end of the story, and it's stayed that way for a month or so.  The other story hasn't decided whether it's upper MG or lower YA ... or even whether it's really something I want to write at all.  I mainly started it to give me a place to try out a techniques that I haven't had the guts to use in a story I'm serious about finishing.  This attempt at writing without an outline, just letting the characters "tell me what they want to do" is proving that I babble at even greater length when I don't have an outline to rein me in.  I've got lots of pages, but not a lot of story so far.  Eh, we'll see - maybe once I'm done with the two stories I'm editing there will be space in my brain to plan out this one.

So here I am - a few manuscripts written, SCBWI joined, an untidy pile of agent descriptions sitting on my desk.  I'm starting to build my official online presence, worrying over writing a bio, and honing my query letter to a fine point.  There's a lot of work to be done in the next few weeks and months, and very little of it involves actually writing stories.  But if I want to be a published author - not just a hobby writer - these are all important steps on the road to success.

I guess if we're going to use the metaphor of my writing "journey", my bags are packed, some maps are uploaded to my phone, and I'm about to go fill up the car with gas and check the oil.  Hop in the car, dear reader, and let's see where this literary road trip takes us!

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