Thursday, March 13, 2014

"Is It Even the Same Book?"

First-round revisions of ZHUKOV'S DOGS were sent back to my editor this morning at 4:30 a.m.

No, I do not sleep. Ever.

Unhealthy insomnia patterns aside, I want to share a story. Since my fiance has been working nights and I days, we rarely see each other. I've been waking up when he gets home around 7:00 a.m. so we can do breakfast/dinner, catch up on the last 24 hours of madness and walk the polar bears. When I mentioned my first-round of revisions were nearly complete he asked:

"Is it even the same book?"

At first I didn't understand, because of course it was the same book. He listed off a few of the revision requests I'd had since the original manuscript was completed, though, and that got me wondering. How much had changed?

I dug through my Zhukov folder (because I am one of those crazy ones that has a folder for everything, and each folder has multiple subfolders) for the original version. The oldest completed version I have is from May 14th, 2012. It was definitely completed at least a month prior to that, but I can't find a specific record. This original version is a modest 85K words in length, lacks two very significant characters, one very crucial plot point, and features multiple scenes that don't actually yield to the overarching story in a profound way. I really loved it at the time, though, and looking back on it makes me all nostalgic. It also helps me see what the fiance was getting at.

The first-round revisions I sent in this morning were more like the sixth-round. Prior to this revision, I hired a professional editor, had a publishing house request extensive revision, received a revision request from my now-agent, and received a minor revision request from my now-house's acquiring editor.

My point: a lot of work goes into a book. All the aforementioned people helped strengthen my book, brought in elements that made it something I can't wait to share with the world, and believed in me. Consider this my informal "thank you for helping me make the same book a billion times better" until the Acknowledgement page is printed.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Book Number Two

I hate to say there's an upside to my fiance working nights, but there kind of is. I always did my best writing in the evening hours. Now that Boeing is driving him like a brilliant slave between the hours of 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. I'm making tons of progress on Book Number Two! It's a win-lose situation though. I'm thrilled with my word count and depressed by my lack of cuddles. Woe the life.

Speaking of Book Number Two (as it will henceforth be known until I come up with a better title), I have a question. Is it strange to know the exact ending of your novel 40K words before it happens?

Technically, I figured out the ending closer to 60K before it happens, which is just absurd to me. Anytime I've taken on a project of this size I've always had a general idea of where I wanted things to end, but as I've mentioned before, I am NOT a fan of outlining or setting things in stone. I prefer to let stories pan out in front of me with very little concrete framework. The story always seems to flow better that way. Plus, remaining lucid helps me step back and reassess the big question of "What's the worst thing I can do to my character right now?"

This time is different, though, and it bothers me!

Let me preface my frustration so I seem slightly less insane. Book Number Two is a first for me in more ways than one.
  1. My main character is an adult with adult problems, not an older teen with adult problems.
  2. My setting is 100% real. Modern day Seattle. Nothing fanciful. No floating kingdoms or underground cities.
  3. My genre is mystery/sci-fi. Mystery. Yes. Serial killer, handsome detective, intrigue and the whole lot.
At a glance that sounds like a pretty straight-forward book, aside from that sneaky little sci-fi bit I slipped in at the end there. That's where things get interesting. I do not write straight-forward books. Remember that.

My main character is an adult with adult problems. He's also a witch doctor born to a family of practical surgeons, suffers from PTSD and sarcasm, and is a recovering addict who surrounds himself with organic/semi-illegal drugs on a daily basis.

My setting is 100% real. Seattle is my city and I love it, as does my main character. We both recognize its petals, thorns and oddities. Better yet, we're both eager to show off it's true colors -- not just the copious amounts of gray.

My genre is mystery/sci-fi. I'm loving it... except for the fact I know who the killer is (or is it killers?) how they did it, why they did it and who their next victims are. Ugh. I know, don't complain. I was the one who decided this would be a good idea. It is a good idea, a great one even, I just kind of wish I'd gotten to enjoy the mystery side of it all.

I've rambled long enough I think. Here, have the first sentence of Book Number Two as a thank-you-for-listening.
Some men spent their Saturday mornings reading the paper, lazing about in their shorts as they debated whether or not the lawn could go another week without mowing—others spent it hacking their way out of a giant iguana's small intestine.

It's Official

...Well, technically it's been official for nearly two months and I'm just terrible at blogging.

I'm getting published!!! (too many exclamation points, I know Kimberley)

My debut novel, ZHUKOV'S DOGS, was taken in by Curiosity Quills Press on January 22nd, 2014. Since then I've completed first-round revisions, graphics sheets, marketing plans and created an official author Facebook page. Currently I'm waiting to hear back about revisions to see if more are necessary or if we can move forward with the new version. There were no major changes to the original manuscript, merely mention of something important slightly earlier to prevent too extreme of a 'huh, what?' moment at the end.

Now then, I must be off to sleep because I've recently taken on a grown up job that requires me to be up by 8 a.m. five days a week. Yaaaaaay. Check back tomorrow for details about Book #2. Here's a hint: witch doctor.