Wednesday, February 25, 2009

That Third Chapter of Strachan's Attic and Hafan Deg's Query Status

The third chapter of Strachan's Attic is in the link above. From now on, I can work quietly away on the MS without feeling the Pressure-Of-The-Blog. All you'll see, if you're quick, is the word counter changing. I got goosebumps yesterday, ending the chapter, and shed a tear. When that happens, I always figure I got it right. Of course, it could mean I'm a really bad writer who gets off on her own sentimental slop. Hope it's not that, but I can't picture John Irving getting teary-eyed over some soppy bit in one of his books, can you? It's definitely a girl thing.

As I have no intention of putting up a Query/Rejection Chart gizmo in the side bar or any place else, I'll just fill you in from time to time. As of last night, I've sent out fourteen queries. Of these, I've had a request for one partial, and received three non-personalized form rejections. There was one bounce-back that will be resubmitted in March. So that means there are nine still-viable queries OUT THERE, all alone in the world, waiting, waiting. This information is not here to be assessed or analyzed; it's a simple record that means nothing. Its only value is in letting you know that the Hafan Deg journey is ongoing.

Strachan's Attic now occupies my mind as I'm washing up or vacuuming, and just before I fall asleep. The original MS was only around 85,000 words, so I have the luxury of adding more to the story than the first time, not as mere filler, but to take the plot in its new direction. The hours of sheer slogging on the work are long over, and now I am in this wonderful relaxed state of pruning AND seeding the draft. (I do seem to have Glorious Spring on my mind, you'll notice.)

As a result of the new work, Hafan Deg is no longer uppermost in my mind, and it's such a relief to stop focusing on that one book. Were it my only book, the rejections would sting a little, but I find I'm looking at them with almost a casual eye. I expect to get a lot more before this exercise is over. Like those nasty but colorful stains on Dr Semmelweis's apron, they are the badges of experience.


Lapillus said...

Good luck on the partial request, Fran. I haven't had time to read the chapters you have up for Strachan's Attic, but I fully intend too soon.

I'll be watching that word count climb, too!

Helen Ginger said...

You have a great attitude. You're doing what writers need to do to keep their sanity - working on another project.

Kit Courteney said...

Darn it. I WAS going to say that I love your attitude... but it's been said!

I'm REALLY enjoying Hafan Deg. There is something quite magical about it.

I'm passing on a 'photo tag' if you have the time... but don't stop the writing!

Angela said...

I love those moments whe you're writing and you feel the emotion right in the gut--those points are always highs for me too.

Fran said...

Thanks Heather, The tweaking has improved the letter. I keep thinking it's perfect, but then it needs another tweak next time. Is there such a thing as a writer who's ever satisfied? That letter must be perfect by now...

Casey said...

I finally just read your chapters of Strachan's Attic. I have a few comments, though I generally don't read literary, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt.

Strachan's voice doesn't always suit her age in my opinion. She sometimes sounds younger to me, especially when she is dwelling on her younger days. Before getting to the part where you state her age, I was beginning to think she was in her early twenties since her thoughts stray to high school and the like so often. Perhaps that is part of her late-bloom personality though.

I also felt that there was a bit too much introspection and back-story. I really wanted more of the attic and less of Strachan's life-particulars.

I particularly felt jarred moving from the end of chapter two, in the attic, to her workplace in the beginning of chapter three.

Overall I rather like it and I'm very intrigued. I want to know the mystery of the attic and I really like Strachan's charater.
I do think you'd have a better hook if you got her to the attic sooner. The attic is definitely the hook, where I don't care enough about your character in the beginning to be pulled by the particulars of her life (the cat, the trouble, the roommate, etc.)

I hope the feedback helps in some measure, even though this isn't a genre I typically read. Lovely writing, Fran!

Fran said...

Oh, Casey, I loved your "Get Her To The Attic Sooner!" I had a giggle with that.

The attic changes Strachan's life and it features only in the early chapters. This is Strachan's story and I need to show what's she's about. She DOES sound young, doesn't she? Perhaps I'll knock a couple of years off, but I was worried my own "voice" wouldn't be able to go too, too young. I don't know the jargon, these days.

I've taken on board what you've said. I do tend to waffle on in back story (oh, dear Karen's life was so detailed in the first version of Hafan Deg), but believe me, there was a lot more. This a re-write!

"Get Her To THe Attic Sooner!" We'll see.

You spent a huge amount of time considering it, and I really appreciate you generosity in sharing with me. THAT'S why we're doing these blogs, isn't it? For genuine feedback? Thanks, Casey!

Casey said...

Well that certainly makes a difference - the attic only being early in the story. I thought it would be the ongoing mystery/plot. If the story is more character driven, as I can now see it is, than it's probably as it should be.

As for her age, sometimes she sounded very young, but the rest of the time she sounded older and more settled in her thoughts. A few years taken off might be just the thing. Or, if you could work her age in sooner, it might take the guess-work out of it for the reader.

Best wishes Fran!