Status Update

It’s been over two months since my last post, but I assure you the delay is not a result of laziness.  Okay, not just laziness.  In truth, I have been working quite a bit on various projects and now that I have a few moments in the early morning, when all around me is quiet, I’ll scribble a little bit about them.

The Dead and the Dying–The manuscript for my recently completely horror novel is about ready to begin the long road of submissions.  After my previous attempt at writing a novel, I submitted a query to a total of one (1) agent, promptly earning myself a form rejection letter.  Two years out from that, I can see why it was rejected.  Before, during, and now after the process of writing TDATD, I came to realize how amateur I sounded in that letter and hope to avoid the same mistakes with my new book.  Also, I think I did a much better job of writing this time, which always helps the chances of a book catching the eye of an agent.

The publishing industry typically shuts down over the two weeks or so surrounding Christmas, but I am not one of those many, many authors who start watching the clock as soon as they hit send on their email or close the door to their mailbox as though they are waiting for some dish being heated in the microwave.  More than acceptance (although that certainly does help), I think authors want closure more than anything.  It’s the waiting that kills.  A yes is joy beyond the world, but a no is at least an end to the nail-biting.  As for my novel, I am perfectly willing to take things slowly to avoid looking like a neurotic writer.  I want to be someone an agent will enjoy working with, not the freaks and weirdos I have read so much about on various agent websites and blogs.

I have a spreadsheet made with all my target agents, and have been working on my query letter for a few weeks, looking for just the right mix of hook and professionalism that will get me a hearing that lasts at least to a partial manuscript submission.  I’m not expecting miracles, but I do think the book has merit and is as good as some of the published books I have read over the past few years.

New, As-Yet-Untitled Project–Last week, I began work on my third novel manuscript.  I will keep the details secret for now (on the off chance that I can actually sell the damn thing), but I’ve been looking forward to working on this piece since I first came up with it.  It sat on the back burner for a while, waiting for that one connection to really bring the whole thing into focus.  One day near the end of TDATD, the connection hit me–fully formed and so obvious that I rolled it over in my head for days looking for what was wrong with it.  After five days of writing, I am at 6000 words, which is a pretty good start.  I’m really hoping to get some momentum going on this one to keep my mind off my submissions.

Harry Potter and the Golden Sepulcher–My guilty pleasure.  I started this fan fiction on Mugglenet.com with the idea of using it as a change of scenery after working so hard on TDATD.  What has happened instead is that I’ve put together a story that I really like and hope to continue, but right now it’s dying on the vine.  With nine chapters posted, I’ve had a lackluster chapter 10 saved for some time, waiting for a second opinion before I decided to go back and rewrite it.  My few loyal readers on Mugglenet are clamoring for an update and I hope to provide it soon.  The only problem is that I’m losing that lovin’ feeling where this story is concerned, so I am combatting that by going back through Rowling’s books, hoping to be reinspired.  My tentative plan is to spend five days a week working on the new novel, one day on Harry, and one day completely off from writing.  If I have any spare time aside from my regular writing times, though, I hope to spend those on rebuilding chapter 10 into something both entertaining, but also something that leads the story in the direction I want it to go.

For anyone not familiar with any of this who would like to read the fanfic piece, you can find it here

Horror Novella–In between all the other things I’m working on, I’m hoping to pump out a horror novella that I’ve been itching to write for some time.  The story is actually inspired by an event in my life, twisted to meet my own macabre needs.  I still need to do a bit of research regarding 911 call centers, so if anyone knows a good resource online where I can pick up some information, feel free to drop me a note.

And, of course, all my writing must come after the “day job” which, being retail management, is insane this time of year.  By the time I get home, often after midnight, it’s sheer force of will that sits me down at the keyboard to peck out my 1000+ words a night.  Still, I wouldn’t be doing it if I didn’t get something out of it and what I get is a chance to decompress, to leave behind my dark thoughts about customers, my employees, and inventory levels.  I don’t know what I would do without my escape hatch in writing, and I need it more this time of year than any other.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to post a few more times over the coming week.  I have a couple of books to review on here, plus some general observations about starting a new novel, the scary submission process, and other things related and unrelated to writing.

Stay tuned.

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About Lee Smiley

I write things. Maybe you'll read them.
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