Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Off to the Agent

After some serious work yesterday, over the weekend and then this morning (yes, even before noon!), I think the book may be ready to go to my agent. It's long -- more than 115,000 words -- and I tend to get even longer with my agent's suggestions, but she may be able to find a few places I can cut. Pacing in a series like this can be challenging because readers who've been following these characters may enjoy getting the chance to learn more about them even in quieter scenes that aren't absolutely crucial to the main plot. In fact, the more invested readers are in ongoing characters, the more they look for a chance to see what they're like when they're not saving the world. If you ever look at fan fiction, it's often about the in-between times that don't make the cut for a one-hour TV show (and I don't just mean those times that don't make it on broadcast television). That means that when I'm looking for scenes to cut, I not only have to look at how crucial they are to the main plot, but also what they tell us about these people, what they reveal about the characters that we previously didn't know. Not that I'm showing the characters doing their laundry (though, come to think of it, there are a few mentions to laundry), but I do have a few quiet times that give us a glimpse of another side of the characters. I guess we'll see what my agent says.

Mom's taking another look at my revised ending, and then if she thinks it works, off it goes. This is where I really miss Rosa, who could give me the reader/fan perspective and give me a sense of whether the typical fan would like it or declare jihad against me.

Looking back at the process of writing this book, I can see a few things I've learned about making things go more smoothly. My biggest "innovation" was learning to take the laptop to the chaise lounge on the loft, where I could write while wrapped in the electric blanket and disconnected from the Internet. I'll have to come up with a new writing location for the next book I have to write, because I'll be mostly working during the warm-weather months. The loft is the warmest spot in the house, and it's the one place in the house with no fan. It's great in winter, but a place I avoid in the summer. I guess I could bring up my standing fan. I could also haul the laptop out to the patio table.

With the last book, I got the bright idea of getting a thermos to hold a pot of tea at a time, so I wouldn't have to be constantly making tea. In the last week or so, I got the idea of putting my tea in an insulated travel mug. That limits the number of trips up and down the stairs to refill or reheat my tea, plus it reduces the chance that I'll spill it. It's worked well enough with the freebie advertising type mug I've got, so I think on my next Target trip I'll buy a good one.

When the book goes to my agent, I'll have around two weeks before I get her feedback, and in that time I do have a bunch of promo stuff to do. I'll wade through the thousands of messages (literally) in my in-box, and I hope to get some house cleaning done. I seem to recall that there was a desk surface under all this stuff.

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