By Christine Thackeray
Last year I had my first two books published (well, I co-authored one with my sister.) In contrast, this year I finished three manuscripts and none of them has sold. One is in being considered by Deseret, and the other went to an editor who asked for a rewrite. (They want it half the length.) The third I wrote for a contest and am not sure what is the best road to take with that book.
It's the second ms. that I'd like to talk about. Honestly, this story was so engaging to me when I first wrote it. I thought it was brilliant and the moment that I finally typed the last sentence, the story seemed perfect. But a part of my knew at almost 90,000 words, it was too long.
I sent it in anyway and don't even think the editor read it. She told me that when it was around 60,000 words or less to send it back in. So I cut the subplots, took full, round characters and flattened them to stock, and in the end got down to 61,ooo words. I finished it up and sent it to my pre-readers. This week I got their feedback and two out of three of them said they were dissatisfied with how flat the characters were. They wanted more from them.
Well, there was more! Wonderful Monique told me that she wanted me to changed it and described the original almost word for word. So now it's back to the drawing board. Like Cinderella's ugly stepsisters I'm trying to shove this great story into a tiny glass slipper, and it just won't fit. Ugh. When do you just call it quits? BUT- the publisher wants the story and I believe if I can get it where it should be, they'll buy it.
The saddest part of all is that my brain is calling to my next project. I've ordered all this supplemental material, and I'm ready to roll- but I've got at least another 20 hours to go on my current WIP. I wish I could simply abandon it and move on, but I know I can't let it be orphaned at least not yet.
So back to the drawing board. I'll give it one more try and send it back to my editor. If she turns it down again, then I'll hold onto it and write my next project. Then when it becomes a bestseller, I'll dust this little orphan off and give it another try.
Do others of you have little orphan projects out there?