A composite of images created when I first started writing the novel - it helps one to "see" and "feel" the characters and the mood of the story
There is, I have to tell you, only one place you can go after “up” – and that’s down. You may recall the post from last Friday, with me on a focused, wild high of editing – feeling super optimistic about my novel. Hmm, yes, well… Several hours later I was down in the black hole of hopelessness.
I’d been buoyed up by news earlier in the week that the vampire trend which has been so big in the US was set to hit the UK and although my novel is not specifically a vampire novel it does fall into the paranormal genre. I prefer to think of the story as a coming of age tale. The vampire element, though fundamental to the story is not what the story is “all about” – it’s the means, rather than the end. It’s the journey of self-discovery and personal growth that is critical to the plot - but it does need the specific paranormal genre in which it is set in order to work.
Anyway, I contacted a couple of writing friends in the UK to get their view on what I’d heard and was told, actually, if you think about it, if the trend is about to hit the UK, this means that editors have already done the acquisitions. You have to bear in mind the two year lead in time. Anything that is about to hit the street now was acquired two years ago. In a nutshell, Vanilla, duckie, you’ve missed the boat.
Bugger, damn and far more colourful words sprang to mind. I wouldn’t have minded quite so much if a) I'd had set out to write to a trend and b) if I’d only written the first draft last week. But the thing was I wasn't writing to a trend and the first draft of the novel was written between February and April of 2006 (bang on trend target!).
So here I sit with my now edited and re-re-re-edited manuscript, facing the likelihood that even if it is any good (and personally, I think it is), that no one will want to take it on because its “missed the trend”. Pooh.
The thing is, where to now? One view is to put the manuscript aside and leave it until “later”. The other view is to submit it anyway and see what happens.
Fortunately, I am working on another manuscript and am thinking maybe I should just focus on that and get that ready for submission. But when you’ve put so much work into something it seems criminal to just walk away from it – and besides, I have a character who is having a major sulk at me and I feel really bad about her. She wants to be out there – and since she has all sorts of superhuman powers I’m a wee bit worried about what she might do to me!
Of course, there are lessons that come out of everything and in this instance, the writing lessons aside (more on that another time), the thing that struck me most forcibly is the choice I have in responding to the situation. Although my initial reaction was woe, doom and gloom, I realised too that I could choose not to be upset about it – and since not being upset is far nicer than being miserable, that’s what I chose to do.
You see, one can take two views on everything – the external, of the world, view and the internal, place of inner stillness, view. The one is ego dominated, the other is soul dominated. I opted for the latter. It’s ultimately, I believe, more sensible and puts one back on a level base from which to decide how to move forward. Much better, I think, that stonking around and feeling deeply sorry for oneself!
And as to what I’m going to do – well, I’ll let you know just as soon as I’ve figured it out! For now, I'm working on getting the other manuscript edited.