Friday, May 1, 2015

I wrote a novel. Now what?

     Yep. That's right. I wrote a novel! A real actual novel! It has a beginning, a middle, and an end! Go me! I've even had people tell me they like my novel! Go me!
     I started writing this novel on Wednesday, March 24, 2010, around 5:00 PM. Yes. I'm completely serious. I can also tell you what I had for dinner that night. Chicken with carrots and potatoes. I remember the date and time so well because writing is something I'd always wanted to do, but was too afraid to try. I didn't think I'd be good enough. I didn't think I'd be disciplined or motivated enough to complete it. So I simply refused to allow myself to start. Finally, one day I just couldn't take it anymore. A particular scene between two characters kept replaying itself in my mind over and over again. I couldn't sleep or focus on anything. Either I was going insane, or a story was demanding to be written. So I gave in and started writing. I haven't stopped since, and don't plan to.
     It took me roughly four years to complete the novel, and I'm still not sure what exactly constitutes complete. This novel has seen me through five different living situations, 3 relationships, a health scare, a couple bouts of depression, a flood, and an injury. We've stuck by each other's sides through all of that. It is my baby, and the first in a trilogy.
     What's my novel about? I thought you'd never ask. It's a post-apocalyptic vampire novel. Yes vampire. Now that I have said vampire, I expect you are doing one of two things: drooling, or rolling your eyes. It's totally cool if you're rolling your eyes. I'm not offended. Everyone has their own tastes. Now if you are drooling and rolling your eyes, I'm not quite sure what to think of you.
     Now that my novel is finished, it's time to think about publishing. I've decided to start with the traditional route: trying to find an agent. I've been submitting to agents on and off for about a year now. I am currently at 22 rejections. There will be a future post about the woes of rejection.
     My friend Branden promised me beer and/or ice cream when I reach 25 rejections. He probably thinks I've forgotten this promise, but I haven't. I want my beer and ice cream, although I don't want ice cream flavored beer. Actually, on second thought, milk stouts are pretty good, so maybe ice cream flavored beer wouldn't be so bad after all. But not beer flavored ice cream. Ew.
     One of the many painful aspects of trying to get your novel published is deciding what genre it fits into. I'm still not 100% sure what genre my vampire novel is. My writers group tells me it's a paranormal romance. Yes, there is a romance that is pretty central to the story, but it isn't the only thing going on. So, I'm not quite sure if it qualifies as a romance.
     An agent I met at a writer's conference (rejection #12) told me it's only a romance if my cover features a shirtless man with an illegal amount of muscles and a woman with flowing hair who looks as though she's either having a heart attack or about to throw up. My book doesn't actually have a cover yet, but when it does it will have neither of those features.
     I was about 90% sure that my novel is an urban fantasy when someone told me that it wouldn't be urban fantasy because my characters aren't in a big metropolis all the time. So I decided to go with contemporary fantasy. Then at the writer's conference the same agent said the term contemporary fantasy isn't used much and I can just call it urban fantasy. So, I'm sticking with urban fantasy. There will be more complaining (I mean discussions) about genre in later posts.
     While I am awaiting rejections (I mean responses) from agents about my vampire novel, I'm busy working on my second novel. I've decided to take a break from the vampire trilogy and work on an unrelated story. I am finding myself having as much trouble with genre as I did previously. At this point I am calling it a young adult/or not  paranormal (ghosts not vampires) urban fantasy horror mystery suspense novel. Yep. It's got all those elements. I have no idea how to classify it. Luckily, I'm still on the rough draft, so I don't have to figure that out yet.
     I will be sharing more of my writing and publishing drama in posts to come. Feel free to give me any input or share your own experiences.