If you’ve been to the blog before, you probably heard about my YA high fantasy novel, From Under the Mountain, and that I finally finished my first draft. You’ve also probably heard my whining about how editing your own stuff is hard. Which is still totally and completely true.
Since finishing the manuscript I’ve been in kind of a fluctuating state, waffling between triumph, excitement, apprehension, and total disillusionment with my “talent.” There are days when I read through it again and think, “Man, this is great!” and days where all I can think is that my characters are boring and the plot’s not interesting and yada yada yada. I’ve also been getting antsy, because I really want to continue working on the manuscript and making it better–but I’m at a loss. I could think of a ton of things to add, pieces of the original draft that got cut in the first round, but I don’t want to go overboard with that. I can think of more down-time scenes with the main characters that might flesh them out a little bit more, but they don’t fit into the action once it starts and I don’t want to slow down the beginning any more.
I do have one or two ideas of things that I want to stick back in, but beyond that, I don’t know what direction to go with the novel. I don’t know what the readers want or need more of. The only feedback I’ve gotten so far is from my boyfriend, who is very good at picking up on small inconsistencies and world-building issues; but darling man that he is, he hasn’t commented too much on the overall story arc or things like that. Other than to point out that most of my male characters are broad-shouldered and muscular, which is the opposite of his body type. Whoops.
Anyway, the internet really lit a fire under my ass when I discovered that HarperCollins will be accepting unagented manuscripts for their Harper Voyager imprint–you know, the one that publishes George R. R. Martin and Sara Douglass? For lack of a better word…
O. M. G.
Submissions will be accepted between October 1st and October 14th, giving me like two weeks to do all the polishing I can before taking this huge leap. I had been kind of looking up agents and bookmarking their sites without feeling any real rush to the process. I figured I’d pass the manuscript around to my friends first, get their thoughts, before sending it out to a professional. But as Kimberly Turner points out on LitReactor, this is pretty much a once-in-a-decade opportunity.
So now I’m hitting the grindstone again and demanding that my beta readers do the same (which they are, dear people) so that hopefully I can send something into Harper Voyager that is exciting, fresh, and technically solid enough to catch their interest.
Because that would be really cool.
It’s a long shot, and I must admit that even if I was chosen I’d be nervous about navigating contracts without an agent, but you really don’t turn down an opportunity like this because the road might be a little bumpy. So, my friends: