Saturday, March 28, 2009

State of flux

My current novel has ground to a halt.

Several weeks ago, I received yet another rejection from Harlequin for the manuscript I'd sent them most recently. Now I have no irons in the fire, and since the rejection letter was identical to the last, I think it's time to stop and take stock.

All sorts of questions are running through my head. Am I writing for the right publisher? Is my work more suited to a different line, or to another genre of writing altogether? Clearly, there is something about my writing that isn't working, so now is a good time to stop and consider what I'm doing.

Over the last few years, I've built up a bit of knowledge about how to structure a novel. My writing - hopefully - has improved. So what is it about it that's going to take it to the next level? I think this is a crucial consideration at this point, and the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced I need to be more strategic about what I write, how I write it, and to whom I pitch it.

When I think about my current novel, there are several elements that don't sit quite right with me. I have the emotional conflict worked out... I think. But is it as clear in my mind as it should be? Perhaps not enough to provide that clarity for the reader in a way that's going to make them want to turn the page.

Part of the problem could be that in trying to 'fit' into a certain genre - and Romance has been the genre of choice thus far - I am perhaps not able to express myself in the voice that comes most naturally to me. If this is in fact the case, then I might be sabotaging myself in a way that will always prevent an editor from seeing who I really am.

So I'm going to take some time to mull all these issues over and come up with a plan. I feel a great sense of affinity for romance, for the breadth of storylines available, which provide endless opportunities to explore character and emotion. If I'm totally honest, what attracts me the most to romance is being able to explore women's issues in great depth.

With this in mind, I'm going to analyse what I've done so far, see what possibilities lay ahead, and make a plan of attack. There will be setbacks along the journey, but I'm more than willing to persevere, since there's something inside me that urges me on. I don't know if Harlequin is the right fit for me, but I know there's something out there that is. It's my passionate and resolute aim to find it.


Ellen said...

Hey Scribbly, sorry to hear about your latest rejection, but are you able to send your manuscripts somewhere else? I think it's highly possible that what one editor rejects, another may like. Maybe category romance is too limiting simply from the point of view that a single rejection means there's nowhere else to try . . . Maybe you should try chick lit instead. There seem to be many more publishing options. Having said that, you've got to write what you want to write. Good luck.

SCRIBBLY said...

Thanks Ellen. I feel I gave it a good shot, and who knows, I might be back knocking at Harlequin's door one day soon. In the meantime, I have a few things to figure out.

Tracey said...

Rejection sucks, doesn't it? But all the questions you're asking are good -- my belief is that you should be writing where your heart is. What type of fiction do you most love reading? Is it category romance? If so, then maybe you should pursue it, but if it's something else, then perhaps that's what you should be trying.

SCRIBBLY said...

I think you're absolutely right about writing what comes naturally. How can 'voice' emerge otherwise?

One thing that has come out of this for me is that in order to write something that will touch others, I have to put myself on the page more than I've done in the past.

This means opening my innermost thoughts and letting them flow into the writing. It's a scary concept, but it's easy to see how without it, writing can feel forced, stilted, and... well, false.

Let's hope I can do it, and as always, thanks for your support.