My horoscope for the week:
AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): On behalf of all us non-Aquarians, I'd like to
express our appreciation for the experiments you've been performing.
Please don't be discouraged just because the results thus far have been
inconclusive and left you feeling a trifle rudderless. We feel confident that
sooner or later you'll come up with discoveries that will have bottom-line
value to both you and the rest of us. We'd also like to apologize for the
shortsighted and timid types among us who are accusing you of being
unrealistic or overly optimistic. Please keep trying those novel approaches
and making those imaginative forays.
Most excellent for the week in which I received my second agent rejection.
But let's be honest. The book wasn't ready. 60K words in eight weeks is impressive and all, but come on, obviously it's not a final draft. I have officially cooled my query jets and gotten back to the book itself in a serious way, following up some super helpful feedback from some super smart and encouraging (but usefully critical) readers. Now I'm 6K words heavier (so far) and the thing is getting richer by the hour.
After I sat back and gave it a good proofing, I realized that what I instantly had was a decent romance novel. Which is great, seeing as writing a romance novel was my original plan. Except that as I wrote it it grew into something more complex than a romance novel–at least I decided I wanted it to grow into something more complex. In which case, it needs meat on its bones. My readers have really spurred my thinking about what kind meat and where to put it. So I'm doing mostly that now, though I did do an easy email agent query this morning on a lark.
The rejection doesn't bother me. I've just decided that querying agents I don't have an actual personal introduction to is like throwing darts blindfolded. Either I will hit the right one or I won't, but the more I throw, the better the odds.
So, you wanna know what's more complex about the book now? As I was writing it, about a gazillion more little stories started spinning off of it in my head. I have a strong outline of the immediate sequel, plus a strong idea of a related, concurrent story set tangentially to the main action and characters of this first one. I have a third idea which will be another immediate sequel focused on the twin sister of the main character of the sequel I've already outlined.
What I have on my hands is a full-blown family saga in the making. The twist (and the difficult marketing angle) is that's its a queer family saga. That is, not every character is gay, but several characters are literally queer in a sexuality or gender way, and the family itself is based on a female-female couple of progenitors (okay with a reproductive leg up via a brief heterosexual marriage). Meanwhile I've also got a not-as-rare-as-people-think-but-certainly-underrepresented-in-pop-culture Black/white interracial marriage (circa 1899) and its offspring. Then there are the celibate nuns and their special friendships across time and eternity and well…it's a queer family saga.
I have no doubt you and everybody you know will not be able to put it down. But I have to find an agent who is convinced she can convince Random House (or you know, Simon and Schuster or whoever will give me the most gigantic contract) of this.
Hand me a few more darts…