Saturday, July 24, 2010

No Quitting

I wrote the last words of the manuscript after midnight, knowing that the ending wasn't powerful enough and it would have to be re-written when I wasn't so sleepy.

From the very beginning, however, I wrote with a sense that I'd finally found the right story to get a literary agent's attention.

One manuscript after another, and there's plenty of compliments on the writing. In the end, however, the novel just wasn't right for the agent, wasn't what was selling. I knew that all along, of course, because what's out there in book shops isn't what I want to read, so we're not at all on the same page here.

The market for historical fiction is limited as it is, so not hitting on the exact most popular era or the top choice in locations meant I could write my heart out but it wouldn't matter. There's no market for art, just books that sell, and that's based on what's sold in the past.

This time, I've been telling myself, I've got the sort of story that should intrigue the reading public.No exotic locations but a familiar place, in an era not too far in the past. The lead character is portrayed differently than history has written him, and there's political gamesmanship and corruption at the top to add interest.

There's editing to be done, but already I'm thinking about the query letter. This is going to be the one, the break-out novel. Locked in the hard drive of the computer (and on a flash drive and an external hard drive) is the next step on the road to publication, the paved road that leads to a contract.

Why are we so gullible, my main character is asked. Because we want to believe. There's no quitting.

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