Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Tale of a Story...

So, I have a story I wrote in college. I have a long, tawdry history with this particular novel. I first drafted it in 1993, and when I got married in 1996 I started to work on it again, because I was going to be a writer, dang it, and I was going to support us by selling a novel overnight and becoming famous and getting a HUGE advance, to put Hubby through Law School.

Heh heh. I know.

Well, I got an agent for the story fairly quickly, and her name was Melanie Mills. (Just Google her, I dare you--she was notorious and faked her own death, ran down her own mother with her car, etc. etc. etc. ETC.)

Believe it or not, she was only ever professional and super nice to me. Unfortunately, her M.O. was to have a major house interested in your story (in my case, Random House) and offer her (very expensive) services as an editor. I declined politely, and soon after, she "died." My hopes sort of died with her, because I never realized I was wasting my time and the novel wasn't getting subbed to any publishers at all. I was being conned. What a mess.

I rewrote the story, gave it a new title, and sat on it, for seven years.

Got excited about it again in 2002. After all, it was a good story, and it was my first. My baby, if you will. I started querying agents. Nope, not for them. Rejection after rejection. Finally, on my TWENTY SEVENTH try, I got a bite. With a real, honest to goodness agent, who himself, was pretty new to the agent business. He fell in love with my story against his will (his words--he doesn't like fantasy elements in stories) but he signed me and we began the submission process.

Eleven rejections later (and one REALLY close call where an editor raved about it and to our mutual surprise, did an about face a month later and rejected it, asking US if she was making a mistake) my enthusiasm waned. He wanted me to write more--only stories that didn't have magic or fantastical elements in them. I dragged my feet. I was overwhelmed with my three kids and so, eventually, we parted ways. Amicably of course, and I look at his website now, and he is a SUPER successful agent, and I am still grateful to him, but he doesn't like fantasy. We're not a good fit.

Now, five years later, I've pulled the story out of the proverbial "drawer" and dusted it off, and last night, I started reading. And tweaking. Then I began to get excited about it. *I* wrote this? It's a great story! (I'm also biased and super humble, I know!)

I changed the title. Changed the names of the three main characters. Grabbed a machete, and chopped and cut, then patched and sewed and now I have a story that I think is pretty darn good.

Problem is, NOW what the hell do I do with it???

1 comment:

  1. Hm. I personally think there is a time and a place for all stories. I know I've asked this before - and I think I know what your answer will be - but have you considered small press (i.e., epublishing)? Sometimes, and this is from reading scads of posts about it, NY doesn't know what to do with books like yours (and mine). So they get rejected.

    I think you should seriously sit down and look at some small presses and see about going that route. If you sell it as an ebook you get 40 percent royalties. MOST go to print after that. So it's not NY. So what. You know what it is, though? It's a stepping stone. It's a place to start. A beginning. And you can always make the leap to NY later. Or have a very successful career with small presses. It's been done. I've seen it. (Yes, you know my feelings on it, too, but I'm currently on the fence and I'll tell you why later via email.)

    And it IS a great story and you should try to sell it. I KNOW you can. Let me know if you want to chat about it. :)