I’ve been revising the last chapter of my current novel for five months now. Not proud of that, let me tell you, but it’s the truth. As usual, there’s more than one reason for the god-awful paralysis that’s got me frozen on the edge of completion.
Edge of the Shadow is the first of the Wisdom Court trilogy. The story arc for the three novels follows associates at the women’s institute in Boulder as each works on a heart’s-desire project with total support, all expenses paid. (Did I mention there are eerie, disturbing things happening there?) Shadow sets up everything for all three books, and has to do it right. The climax has to make the reader want to run out to get the second book immediately. I’ve rewritten the damned ending so many times that I’m not dead certain it does that. I can’t tell you how eager I am to work on the second book of the trilogy–I’m at least 200 pages into A Signal Shown–but that first one has to be finished.
I keep letting myself get distracted with the New World Order of publishing. Like this blog, for instance. Plus I’ve been showing my face on Facebook & Link(ing)In, and tweeting now and again. (I think I may be too long-winded for Twitter.) I’m intrigued by the possibilities of all the networking, but the rule is, finish creating the product before you start marketing it, right?
It’s been a long time since I was published. Scavengers (1987) and Obstacle Course (1990) are mysteries set in Denver’s Capitol Hill. Bridey’s Mountain (1993), co-written with Mary Jo Adamson, is a saga set in Colorado. After Bridey, life got in the way big-time with family illnesses and such, and while I kept writing sporadically, I didn’t get near publishable quality for a long time. (That didn’t stop me from sending out Edge of the Shadow versions too early, thus burning bridges with some of the agents I knew. Stupid.)
My imagination is teased by the possibility of creating a shell for the trilogy. By that I mean I could use this blog and the Wisdom Court blog I’ve been messing with to write the back story of the women’s institute–a hang-out zone for readers. One of my favorite things in reading/writing is 19th century novels, and I’ve spent my entire writing career cutting the stuff that goes into those books. I’m talking about the descriptions, the Dear Reader asides, the plot cul-de-sacs I’ve always loved to read. Admittedly, current tastes don’t run to that and the faster pace and pared down prose are de rigeur for fiction. Still, I ponder what fun it would be to indulge myself in what I like, particularly if I decide to publish the trilogy myself. (And then I remember the old writing advice about how you should always “kill your darlings,” [because they almost always stink] and feel a puritanical guilt about indulging myself.) Sigh.
So, it’s time for a resolution, because what the hell else can I do at this point? I will finish Chapter Twenty-four of Edge of the Shadow. Within the next month. And then I will decide whether to send out agent queries one last go-round. (I recommend QueryTracker.org as a source of agents and advice for approaching them.)
I’ll let you know how it goes.