Did you hear the trumpets blaring at 3:13pm yesterday afternoon? Of course, you did. But maybe you didn’t know what they were for.
I turned in the revision of my historical novel.
HUZZAH, GOOD PEOPLE, HUZZAH!!!!
I started thinking about this novel in early 2004, just as I was finishing up PROM. I ran the concept past my editor at Simon & Schuster and he liked it, too. I was insanely busy with travel and life and TWISTED for a long time after that, but whenever I could, I would squeeze in research. Lots of research. I had made fits and starts on various scenes and chapters but the intense writing started in September of 2006.
An outlining note for the writers out there…. I seem to have a different process, depending on the book. My contemporary YA novels take many drafts (TWISTED took 11) because I start with a character and then that character wanders around in search of a plot. I never get around to outlining until I am deep, deep into the 4th or 5th draft and the structure of the story is a mess and the lines of plot are tangled in a giant hair ball that threatens to choke me. But I approach my historical novels differently. I develop 2 outlines; one of the main character’s inner journey, and the other, the historical events in which she finds herself. Hence, my historical novels tend to be written in fewer drafts. But it takes the same amount of time (actually, a little more) because of the necessary research.
I turned in the “good enough draft” (draft #4) to my editor in February. Like most editors, he had a bazillion balls in the air and could not get his comments to me before my Road Trip 2007 started, so I couldn’t really start hammering on it until June. But for the last 5 weeks, when I’ve been home, I’ve been working on the revision. I wound up tightening the first three-quarters of the book, though I didn’t toss any scenes. The last quarter I would up restructuring and adding a few scenes necessary to better motivate the ending.
It now goes off to my historical experts for vetting and few trusted friends for their comments, which means it will need at least one more polish before it is truly “done.” But the hard work is complete, I hope.
In the other great news column, a lesion that the doctor took off my face last week is not cancerous. (This is a big honking deal because I am a survivor of melanoma and am scared witless it will return.) Wear sunscreen everyone. And cover up! So I am a very happy camper today.
If you have been waiting for an email or letter or package from me in the last 2 months, please accept my apologies and know that I am tackling all of that stuff now.
For the last 10 days, I have actually been juggling 2 books in my head, because I swore an oath to begin my new YA on July 1st. And I did.
Me starting the new book in the magic chair at River’s End Books in Oswego. Yes, I look terrified. I am always terrified when I start a new book. In fact, I am terrified most of the time. I am a big ‘fraidy-cat. But today, I am a pleased, purring, slightly less-neurotic than usual ‘fraidy-cat.
PS – The book I just turned is scheduled to be published in the fall of 2008.