It has been almost three weeks since my last blog. I have to continue telling my story, because, it is only partially complete. Perhaps, I will never be done. Last blog I mentioned the contract I received. I sent it back immediately on August 23. I received a questionnaire and a request for pen name and actual title I want to use. So many options. My name is twenty one letters long. Too long I figure for a normal paperback sized book. I had to shorten it somehow. What gives? My first name which has some nostalgia connected. My middle name which is actually my maiden name which I changed when I was married. Or my last name, my spouse’s name which I have had longer than my own name. I decided S. Forrest Nomakeo would be my pen name. The title Summer Palace was already decided, but what about a sub title? A Path to Destiny, Unbridled Destiny or A long way home. I decided no subtitle, so simply Summer Palace.
The questionnaire was thorough and the fact that I had queried this book, written a synopsis, formed a log line, and biography–was a great help. So I suggest when you complete your novel get to writing those necessary bits of information. It may actually help you with your story. The questionnaire took a few hours, but it would have been a struggle without having those thoughtful considerations of my story in place.
I am now waiting for a first set of proofs. I have been assigned a production person and have been in contact with the production department. Right now, my hands are free. Tomorrow will be one week since I sent in the required questionnaire and name confirmation.
What I did next, with the help of my sister Catherine, was to make a plan. I’m giving myself six months to complete two novels. Both of which have been completed and sent out and refused or rejected by agents. I hate to admit it, it hurts to admit it, but I can almost see why. After learning more about the technical aspect of writing, I’m assuming this because my novel was picked up, and applying it to these other two books I believe they have become better and still a hell of a lot of fun to write or re-write in my case. After the six month time frame I may be too busy to write for a time. I’ll need to dedicate time and energy to marketing my book. Yeah! I’d love to send a second novel to the publisher on the heals of the first one. Not sure what their thoughts will be on that, but I must be prepared.
I had been spending time reworking my third book, but its a sci-fi time traveling fantasy far too different from my Historical Fiction Romance that is being printed. My second and third books (part A) are more along the Historical Fiction genre and will fall in nicely after Summer Palace. In the questionnaire I sent in I was asked to supply a vision for the cover of my book. Being a designer I couldn’t resist that one They may or may not take a suggestion, but they wanted to hear my thoughts. There are so many issues to be excited about, but I have to wait patiently. No one likes an antsy client.
When I wrote my first book Woven and had it out on queries only to wait three or four months to receive no reply, which means no in this industry. I didn’t–wait that is. I wrote my second book. And when Woven was sent in to an agent as a partial MS another month of waiting. I continued to write my second book Tea Room.
When I received a no on the partial MS I sent it into the book Pipeline thinking perhaps it had enough story to be picked up there. So queries went out on my second novel and I started to write my third story a Historical Fiction called Curious Allure. Which I eventually separated into two books. The aforementioned and The Places You Will Be From. Places as I refer to it is the Sci-Fi Fantasy I mentioned earlier that I had worked on for the past month, but have since put it aside to finish Historical Fiction books two and three.
So, that is where I am. Waiting but not waiting. I’m building an arsenal for my panser attack. To all of you pantsers that write like me what you have at the end of your writing frenzy is a Sketch Draft. A wonderful thing and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Us pantsers have to stick together. If you have a solid beginning, middle, and end, that is about 40,000 or 50,000 words, then you have what you need to end up with a 70,000 to 80,000 word novel once you go in and embellish, outline your characters, describe your scenes, and develop dialogue. Don’t forget proofread. It must be your best effort. Granted it will be morphed by an in-house editor but it will be earlier for them to sift through if it is written well. N.B. I worked for four months perfecting my MS. However, after that I slammed the cover and sent it out. I was second guessing small details and decided that that was enough.
Again, I recommend the Novel Maker’s Handbook by Diane O’Connell. If you’re like me it made sense.
Looking at the word count and being mindful that I have to get back to finishing my novel–I will sign off. I will keep you posted on my progress and all the exciting anticipatory fun of getting a book published and all it entails.