So I was invited to the Wellspring Novel Workshop, which … whew … is an honor … and frankly slightly overwhelming. Wellspring takes the place of Starry Heaven this year, which is on hiatus. Starry Heaven is a spin-off of Blue Heaven. Anyway, they’re all cool high-end workshops and some pretty serious novels have come out of them. (Including Paolo Bacigalupi’s “The Windup Girl” and Brenda Cooper’s “Reading The Wind.”)
And it’s great that I got invited, but of course that means needing a novel to workshop.
Now, technically I have a lot of novels. A number of years ago I wrote Never Trust A Hippie, then Dog Heaven, and then Losing Candyland. The first two were a total mess and I trunked them. I decided the third was worth re-writing and spent a year working on it. When everything was said and done …
… well, I’d learned a ton about novels and had spent a entire year on something that was still frankly a bit of a mess, and I hadn’t written any new short fiction and … it was all a bit depressing.
I sent it out anyway, but after a while (and not a few rejections) I decided Losing Candyland hadn’t really come together as a book. Actually, one agent said he liked it a lot and asked to see my next book. Losing Candyland is still waiting with a few agents, but I’m not super hopeful of it going anywhere.
I decided I needed a new book, rather than trying to clean up Candyland again. I had about 1200 words written on a YA novel (currently called Good is a Bad Word) I’m still excited about so … here we are.
I’m trying a new process with this book. I largely wrote Losing Candyland off the cuff … and it shows. I spent some time while in Paris working out an outline and have been going back and rewriting every five or six scenes before moving on to new ones. It’s made the writing go slow, but now I have a pretty solid first fifty pages and a decent idea of where it’s going. I’ve picked out a few initial readers who I’m feeding 5K chunks to and using the feedback in the rolling rewrite.
Slow but steady, so far, so good.
Anyway, this is all to say that novel writing is still a giant headache, but I at least have a good start. The first fifty pages are due at the end of April, and I already have something for that. I’m hoping to have the rest of the manuscript done (in rolling re-write fashion) in the first week of April, get it to my second readers and hopefully get another full rewrite in before the end of April deadline.
Expect updates on word-count and general whining about pain and torture that is writing.
And … 1, 2, 3, GO!