Out of the Shadows #amwriting #MondayBlogs


One of my notebooks for the new novel.

I’d previously posted that I intended to publish my third book by 2015. Well, here it is, November 2015, and no book is in sight. I regret to report that I won’t be publishing this year. But I promise, the new work is on the way.

A lot of this tardiness has to do with the story editor I’d hired to review my manuscript—or should I say, the editor who was gracious enough to take me on as her client. I had handed her what I’d thought was a decent manuscript in September 2014 after two and a half years of almost daily writing. I’d expected her comments on the characters, the plot, and the pacing would probably lead to three, maybe four months of revisions.That had been my experience with “You Are Here.”

Instead she had me pulling out and rewriting nearly everything I’d written, leaving little more than the characters and a bare-bones structure, and start from the ground up again. I’d learned that much of the inner life of my characters existed in my head, not on the page. Her comments had me working mornings, nights, and weekends, and even then it took me a whole year. Okay, so maybe my working relationship with the editor was considerably more cordial than the one from Billy Elliott, but still, the experience was much tougher than I’d bargained for.


The extra year was worth it. I’m much happier with the new version than the one I’d finished last year. I’ve skimmed through the manuscript I’d given the editor last September and am horrified that I’d ever thought it was near publication. My readers would likely have been horrified too.

But even now, I still can’t make any promises about when the new book will be out. For one thing, the manuscript still isn’t finished. It’s still being vetted for story and characters, and then it’ll go to a copy editor for grammar and fact-checking. That will take the project to the end of December. In January I’m going to take a stab at landing an agent and maybe having the manuscript published by an actual publisher. If that happens, I might not have a book out in 2016 as well. But sooner or later, one way or another, that book is going to see the light of day.

In the meantime I’m filling my hours writing blog posts—namely this one, and maybe a few more blog posts over the next few months. Then I need to catch up on my reading (right now it’s Nelson Algren’s “The Man With the Golden Arm” and William Godwin’s “Caleb Williams”), a daily diary, maybe a writing exercise or two. With my mind now (mostly free) of the characters I’ve been working on for the past four years, I’m now looking for a new hero, the man or woman I’ll fall in love with enough to inspire my fourth book. I know he—or she—is out there.

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