Walking Uphill

#PitMad was last Thursday. I had intended since late September to have Blackout Odyssey ready to go for Dec. 6th, which meant not only rewrites and consolidation of beta-feedback, but writing a solid query letter, synopsis, and tweets, all of which needed to be workshopped themselves if I was going to put my best foot forward.

October ended up being… interestingly busy (I wrote a novella! In a week!).  I sent out my final queries for both Ashes and Creampuffs, cramming like 10 queries into that final week so that they’d be off my plate when November started. November, of course, was NaNoWriMo, complete with a stretch-goal of 75,000 words (I wrote 75K! In a month!).

Saturday, December 1st, my brain was literally dribbling out my ears so I had a relaxing, internet-free day of watching UK murder villages on the couch with my cutie, and Sunday, December 2nd I woke up with a migraine (as a result of said brain-dribble) and spent the entire day in bed with a pillow over my head except for one very memorable panic attack where I realized about 2pm that it’s December now and I haven’t got my #PitMad stuff ready and oh shiiiiit that’s THIS THURSDAY

Monday, December 2nd, I took a whooooole lotta Advil and got to work. And promptly got waylaid by a bunch of other frustrations. The whole week was like that, really: lots of sinus Advil, frustrations, and attempting to do pomodoros. BUT I put on my big-girl space-pirate boots, got everything together (even if I wasn’t 100% happy with my synopsis) and was ready to take on #PitMad.

I’ve known for a while that my stories…. eh, they are not what you’d call “hook-y”.  They don’t have big stakes or romance. They are about ordinary nerds trying to do the best they can in tough situations (and often failing!). But Blackout Odyssey is different. It’s fun. It’s got a snappy elevator pitch (“genderbent retelling of the Odyssey set in the 2003 Blackout”) and stakes (there is a hussy across the hall making a play for Mallory’s boyfriend if she doesn’t get home in time to stop it) and humour and romance and weird magical-realism and haunted versions of local landmarks and Russians playing practical jokes. I knew from June–the first #PitMad–that it would be a much easier sell than my other two manuscripts.

But things are never that straightforward.

I got lots of retweets from friends and other #PitMad participants, some of whom messaged me to tell me that they’d LOVE to read B.O.O. Bunch of new followers. A lot of hits on this here blag (if you’re back again this week–welcome!)

And zero interest from agents.

The road to publishing is very rarely a straight line; I know that. I know I’m also doing my approach on Challenge Mode, what with my lack of short story credits and outlining skills and insistence on avoiding the three-act structure and any fucking Hero’s Journey bullshit. I have voluntarily filled my backpack with rocks and stared up at the hill and said “I’M GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY”.

And occasionally I stop on the side of the brambly trail and look around and wonder what I’m doing and if it’s worth it.

Come January I’ll be querying B.O.O. properly, 2+ queries a week, queryometer, all of it. Because I still think it’s a good read, and because I am ornery like that. I AM GOING TO DO IT ANYWAY. But December is cold and dark and I hate Christmas possibly almost as much as I hate the Hero’s Journey, so this week’s ramble is A BIT OF A MOAN deal with it. 

In other updates: I am up to 143 rejections for 2018, so it looks like I should make my stretch goal of 150.

Fletcher & Cooper…. has stalled somewhat. Last week I was in panicked query-writing mode and that used up all my energy… plus I think my creative carafe just needs time to refill after writing 75K in a month (DID I MENTION I WROTE 75K IN A FREAKIN’ MONTH BECAUSE I DID IN FACT DO THAT).

BUT all is not lost because Sunday I started writing again…. on a prequel to F&C. Which is not, you know, super helpful; although it is helping me flesh out one of the characters and fill in some gaps in the world-building. So it will make F&C stronger overall, whenever I get back into it. Which I will do.  Like querying and submitting, I just have to keep my butt in my chair until it’s done.

Hoping to do another 5K Friday this week either on F&C proper or to finish up the prequel novelette. There will be accompanying twooting on the twitters because I enjoy enjoy my threads (especially the parts where I must consider which Hiddles gifs to use) and at this point in the hike, it’s all about finding what distracts from the blisters and keeps one moving forward.

(Feel free to send soundtrack and gif suggestions, or your own methods for keepin’ on keepin’ on when the gloom hangs a bit heavy.) Going to pick myself up out of the brambles now and get back on the trail.

See you on Friday.

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