Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A brief "News" post

I have decided to pull The Unquiet Grave from submissions for now.

It started with the query. I have trouble writing queries in any case. But the query for TUQG was really giving me fits. I just couldn't condense everything into a 3-paragraph synopsis. And I began to think, "Maybe I'm having trouble writing this query because the book is in trouble." So I enlisted some beta readers to give me a second opinion. And they have pretty much confirmed my suspicions. It needs to be clearer, tighter. I need a different ending. I need to lose about 16k words. And so on.

So, now I'm editing it down and fixing some problems.

At first I was working on She Moved Through the Fair simultaneously. But today I think I'm going to focus on TUQG. Okay, this is partly because I have a difficult scene to write in SMTtF, involving a riot at a poetry reading, and I don't feel like doing it today.

Anyway, just thought I'd post what's going on.

And the tea boils.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Now in the "tea" portion of this insomnia...

I've been up since four. As I went to sleep around midnight, this is no laughing matter. I have tried everything: hot milk, having a snack, relaxation exercises. Now I am in the "nice, soothing cup of tea" portion of the morning. If it keep up for another hour, I may just go ahead and make the coffee.

It wouldn't be so bad if I could be assure of having a nap later, but I've been really bad about napping the past few days. Just can't get my mind to shut off.

I wonder if I'm having a touch of mania. If so, I don't mind much. It's way better than the depression. I've gotten a lot of work done. I'm already three chapters into She Moved Through the Fair, which is really good, as I just started seriously writing it on Friday. The chapters are shorter than those in TUQG, but it's still the first draft so that may change.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

On Pins and Needles...

...waiting to hear from the latest agent I queried about The Unquiet Grave. I sent the query in on Thursday morning. With the three queries I sent before that one, I heard within a matter of hours (I love e-mail queries; it makes the process so much quicker and easier!). This latest agent stated on her web page that she usually answers e-queries within a day. But I haven't heard anything yet. Does this mean anything?

It's a hard line to walk, between trying to stay positive and upbeat--i.e., not putting negative energy into the process--and remaining realistic. I want to think that the extra time it's taking means she's seriously considering my work. I realise this is a long shot. I almost didn't query her at all. She said she isn't interested in fantasy. But she is interested in mystery and music. And she said, "when in doubt, query." So I did.

My mind keeps making up all kinds of stories about this. Maybe she's reading my query over and over, trying to decide. Maybe she's discussing it with other agents she works with. Maybe she'll pass it along to one of them. Maybe they're having an entire staff meeting about me.

More likely, she's just swamped and hasn't got to my query yet.

Still, every time I open my e-mail and there is no rejection there, my heart gives a little leap of hope.

In other news, I spent Thursday night re-plotting She Moves Through the Fair in my mind (and with M.'s help). I think I have a good story, if I can pull it off. I actually made some headway on it yesterday. I got about halfway through chapter two. I wanted to make it all the way through, but after working for five hours or so my brain just gave up. It's still the rough draft, of course. I think I'm going to have to go back through and add more detail. But I think it's good. A better story than The Unquiet Grave, even.

Over and out.

Thursday, February 11, 2010


I can't seem to settle to anything these days. Reading isn't doing it for me. Maybe it's just the book. I'm re-reading Robin Hobb's Fool's Errand and I can't seem to keep my mind on it. I liked it when I read it before, but now it's just boring me. As I said in my last post, I've been feeling like I'd like to work again. The fear is less than it was (yesterday was the worst day ever for that, but now I'm better), but I still can't seem to concentrate. I've been querying agents about The Unquiet Grave. Three rejections and counting on that, but I'm plugging away. Someone's got to want it. I've been smoking like a fiend. And I've been trying to work on She Moved Through the Fair. That's going slowly. I can only remember about half the plot--shame on me for not keeping better notes--but that's not all of it. It comes very slowly. Where once the words were fluid, now I have to search for every one. Right now, I can't get Caitlin and Timber out of their house and to the gig. I try to tell myself, "Just spit it out!" but that's mostly a wash. So I spend a lot of time sitting on the couch, staring into space and rehearsing the words of what comes next. It's work of a kind, I guess, but it's also pretty boring. I feel a lot like I just sit around all day, waiting for it to be time to go to bed so I can get up and do it all over again. Not that bed is much of a relief, either. I woke up at three this morning and never did get back to sleep.

Well, I think it's time to roam about some more...

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Handful of Dust

"What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust."
--T.S. Eliot, "The Wasteland"

Coming out of the long sleep. Almost a year: I have not been literally asleep, rather in abeyance. The self that is me has been curled up tight, perhaps undergoing some kind of metamorphosis, perhaps only waiting for some moment in time, this moment. I think this moment, yet I have no idea what makes this moment different from any other.

I know dissatisfaction with my life. This is something I have not known for long and long, though I have not really had a life for the past year or more. Only a waiting, an existence. A space of time during which I have had the barest consciousness of myself and the world around me.

Now I come to myself and I find myself dissatisfied. I am bored, restless and cranky. I want more. Yet I still feel very little connection with anything. I reach for connection, and I know only the sickness of fear.

It started, I think, with the reading. At first I was glad to be reading, because I had not been able to do even that much for a very long time. Now I have been doing little but reading for several months. And I begin to recognise the old hunger. I am tired of reading, of being a witness to things in which I have no real part. I want to create again.

And so, I turn my eye to writing once more. I have spent the last couple of weeks reading everything I have ever written. At first I felt nothing at all. I saw dead words that did not move me. I scanned novels of a few pages or half finished, and did not remember what they were supposed to be about or why I should care.

Then I began to feel a stirring in my belly. Not inspiration: fear. A throwing up fear.

I do not know what this fear is about. It refuses a name.

I wanted to say more about this, but at the moment there is nothing more to say.