Monday, September 28, 2009

So, there's this book

So, yes, I've alluded to this book. This one I'm co-writing. With a friend. All that is going well. I want to say it's done, but actually, we've been over it several times and now we've decided to add a prologue, which we think is a really nice addition.

We thought we were done and started sending it out to agents, but then this prologue idea crept in and we're on a different track. So we've put more agent outreach on hold until this prologue is brushed up. And also our first four chapters. We really need to nail those better, because we think they don't grab the reader as much as we think they should.

So far this has been quite a creative experience. I really love co-writing. I think it might be better than just writing, because you have a person bouncing ideas off of and it seems things just get better with two heads. I'm surprised more authors don't do it. I have found out that James Patterson has. He likes to co-write. I don't see why not. It may be what keeps his stories rolling and fresh. This book writing has helped me get over some of the blues I have about my full time job. Some of the creativity has left there, and I needed something to spark my creative side.

Now we are in the learning curve about agents and publishing, in addition to revising our tails off. We've decided much of getting published is dumb luck. So we are hoping for luck. And trying different tactics. I am reading a lot more. Our genre is middle grade, which is books for children anywhere from age nine to twelve or thereabouts. I feel very comfortable about that age group and writing for them.

This blog was meant to help with some of that creativity, but as I got buried into revising, this blog has suffered. I don't write the book the way I do the blog, but writing anything a few times a week is a good habit to get into. Discipline is not my strong suit, and sometimes I just want to lie on the sofa and mindlessly watch TV rather than read or write.

So, I'm back to reworking the prologue. Then we hope to plaster that together with the first few chapters and send it to some family or friends for a second read through. We're hoping that we created more excitement and purpose for the characters. I've read about other writers who write their first book and then decide eventually that it's crap and shelve it, going on to write something better that gets picked up. But I don't think our story is crap. Far from it. In fact, I think it is just as good or better than some things I've read for that age level. But I worry that what I think is good may not be to a lot of people. I have no idea if I'm just crazy, or if it would be really enjoyable for kids. Lots of kids. Definitely not JK Rowling level, but a little fan base with kids writing us letters would be neat.

But really, I just don't know what agents and publishers are looking for. To me, it seems all over the board. So, how, in a small one page query letter, do we show an agent that he or she should take a chance on us? And how do they show a publisher to take a chance on us?

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