I finally got up the nerve today to work on a synopsis of my urban fantasy, The First Born, in order to submit it to the Ethan Ellenberg Agency, but thought I’d give the ms one last look. And discovered that, to my utter dismay, I’m going to need to go over it one more time, at least (the submission rules at Ethan Ellenburg require a synopsis and approximately fifty pages of ms).
That’s good and bad. Bad, because, since I’ve never written a synopsis, it took me some time to work up the motivation to tackle the job. Most writers hate doing synopses because it means reducing all that hard work to ugly, bare-bones writing and leaving out all the wonderful nuances we’ve worked into the story. It’s good because, when you consider the fact that only the top 1% or so of writers are chosen for publication, getting a ms into the best shape it can be prior to submission is a good thing. And, since writing is an ongoing learning process, I’ve learned some things since last time I went through that ms that tells me I want to tighten it up even more.
Of course, the trick to all this is to know when to stop polishing and sending it out. It’s all too easy to just say, “Well, I think I need to give it one more going-over before I put it out there,” and using this as an excuse for not submitting. Just as you can’t win a lottery if you don’t enter, you can’t get published if you don’t submit. Publishers aren’t trolling around looking for your work. You have to go find them. Writing kinda sucks that way. Bummer.
The trick to polishing, as most writers know, is to put the ms aside and give it some emotional distance. Take a vacation. Go fishing. Maybe start another story. Whatever it takes to give yourself some distance from the ms. I’ve been able to do that, so my reason for going over this one another time isn’t emotional (in fact, I find it a little discouraging that I need to go over it again), but because I can see where it needs polishing to make it better. The First Born was written at least five years ago, before the current craze for urban fantasy exploded. When this fad first started, I decided I’d not submit it after all, even though I liked the story, because I didn’t want to be seen as just going with the fad. I have liked the idea of urban fantasy for a long time, and while I realize my novel is far from being the first to fit that category, it does pre-date the current fad. I have an aversion to fads, so I decided to shelve it.
Then it occurred to me that maybe I should just take advantage of the trend. After all, that’s what writers are supposed to do if they want to get published: anticipate what’s popular in their particular field. And while I’m not sure if I like the idea that urban fantasies are crowding sf off the shelves, I’ve decided to try and capitalize on the trend and get my foot in the door. Besides, The First Born was conceptualized as the first in a series that takes a slightly different direction than most of the urban fantasy I’m seeing so far, so maybe it will have an appeal that will make it stand out.
Anyway, the purpose of this post is to say that future posts may be a bit more sparse. I intended to make daily posts when I started this blog, but I’m finding that hard to do, especially when I want to stick to the subject of writing and not wander off into political rants or gripes about life in general. I’ve watched a few other blogs to see how they do things, and not many of them make daily posts. I intend to make as many as possible, because a dead blog won’t appeal to people. I just need to learn to balance things a bit better.
However, in the meantime, if you will look at the links over on the top right, you will notice that I’ve added a page called “Crosstown Traffic.” This is a crime fiction short I wrote a couple weeks ago, and I decided to post it to give you something else to read. It’s written in a different voice than the writing sample page is, and I’d be interested to see what the reactions are to the different ways I do this. Hope you enjoy it. And let me know what you think.
Okay. Time to get back to editing.