Writing, Reading, Researching: What I’m Doing Now

Good things come in threes?

Salvaged has been through three major rewrites, and three more full-length revisions.  This past weekend, I took a thumb drive to Staples and had them print out the 200-300 pages single sided, three-hole punched for the third time.

two printed versions of my book

The image here contains the scribbled-on second printing, along with a sheaf of messy notes on one hand, and the freshly printed 283 pages of this, the third printout.

I use a leather-bound binder for these reviews. It has pockets for notes, a few slots for pens and highlighters, and a magnetic snap closure. I like this little added touch of organization and professionalism. It makes me happy.

Which is a good thing, because I’m pretty scared of what I’m going to find when I read it.

But Why Print It Again?

The last full-length revision was finished a scant week before I submitted this manuscript to Harper-Voyager.  It was a month before my wedding. I was somewhat insane to even attempt it.  It was as close as I could get to where I wanted it to be in the time and brainspace I had available.  I know without opening it that I’m still not happy with the opening three chapters, nor am I pleased with the denouement.   I know it’s not perfect.

I read a book differently in print than I do in soft copy. I read it like a reader. It makes typos glare. It makes plot-holes visible. I go more slowly. I don’t skim as much.  I can breathe and sometimes even read out loud.  All of these things are necessary for this read-through.

Why Now?

The February update from H-V regarding their submissions and reviews leads me to believe that I need to have an agent as of yesterday.  I’ve been putting off agent queries.  Originally, I was going to start those after H-V sent back their response.   Now, I know that not only do I not need to wait, I shouldn’t.

I want the manuscript to be as ready as I feel it can be before I send those queries. Because of the timing, my mental state a month before getting married, and the lingering doubts I still hold about key parts of the book, I know I need to at least read it once more.  You’ll note that I’m carefully referring to this as a read-through, and not a revision.  I don’t know how much, if any, will be revised this time out.  I can’t know that until I give it a read.

What’s next?

The long term plan is basic. I get it to where I feel comfortable with it, simultaneously researching the agents that I want to query.  When it’s done, I query the agents. I go from there.  I’ll get some rejections. I’ll get some nibbles. Eventually, I’ll get a bite.   Like I said in my anxiety post, I’m not looking that far ahead.  I’m just taking the next step. I’ve printed it. Next, I’ll read it.

I’m not going to add a timeline to any of this. I feel a sense of urgency about the agent queries.  I also don’t want to rush this review like I did last time.

Meanwhile….

Salvaged is not the only work in progress I’ve got going right now.  I’ve been working on Maaneshin every day. As an offshoot of my readings in Finding Water, I’ve set a goal to write for 30 minutes every day.  This is the manuscript I’m hammering away on when I write my 30 minutes.  This is the plot that daydreams through my head.   Leina and Careen couldn’t be more different, as protagonists go. Their situations are extreme, and also opposite.  It should be interesting to live in both worlds at once. I’m not sure how I’m going to do that.

I’ve also got Crashed that I could be working on, and it might make sense to shift there while I’m dealing with Salvaged. Mistral’s prequel story might even inform some of the decisions I may have to make in Salvaged. I finished a rough draft of it last week, so I might go in and do some bulk addition, creating more tension and atmosphere now that I have the basics sketched in.

That’s the work I’m doing. Writing new stuff. Reading stuff I want to perfect. Researching agents and planning my first few queries.

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