Saturday, April 18, 2009

Finding Bliss Once Again

I haven't posted about Bliss Lake in a long while. It needed a break. I needed a break from it.

It's the novel (women's fiction) I finished writing last spring. I spent a few months editing, and began my agent search midway through summer. Didn't get a single bite, though I had 17 rejections (and so many more in the no response at all category). A buddy who knew BL's premise suggested I submit outright to Avalon Books, a NYC publishing house who works directly with writers (meaning no agent is needed).

I nearly floated away when they requested the full manuscript, after a few mere days. My thoughts and prayers and days revolved around the fact that those editors held my future in their hands.

And I cried when they turned it down in December.

I considered my options - to continue or give it a rest? - and pushed it aside, welcoming the distance. I started something new (the current WIP), planning to revisit BL in the future.

Last week when I met writing buddies in Florida (Terri, Jessica and Kristin), I mentioned Bliss Lake, even if briefly. Some advice they gave, some exchanges we had, turned my thoughts to the manuscript once again, and as my family's journey home allowed ample time to brainstorm, the ideas started flowing.

New dimensions popped out left and right; I saw potential ways to widen the plot, expand the premise and broaden the word count (which, if I'm to be honest with myself, is important if I want representation - it's only 50k words as is).

I handwrote all that flowed from me (and I never do that!), and have been working on it night and day (literally) since we've been home. I've found the right voice, the right depth, and what I hope is the perfect combination needed to make Bliss Lake sellable.

While I won't update my word count side bar until I'm totally done with this revamping, you'll not see When I Turned 30 increase, either. For now, it takes the back burner. And when Bliss Lake is ready to query again, I'll pick up with 30. Maybe it'll take off the same way.


Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Sometimes a "time out" is exactly what we writers need to help us regain our perspective and momentum in our writing.

I'm so happy to hear that you have discovered new insights for your BL book! Can't wait to hear when it's been completed and published and I want to be one of the first to read it!

Write on, Girlfriend!

Jessica Nelson said...

Wow, good for you! 50 K is short for women's fiction, so that might've been one of the reasons for rejection, rather than the actual story. I cried when I got rejected by a publisher too. :-) I'm so glad you're delving back in. That's exciting.

Linda Hoye said...

I'm so glad you've picked it up again. Distance can bring amazing perspective. Good luck!

Amy Sue Nathan said...

That's inspiring! I know its hard to set work aside, but sometimes it's necessary. Look what you're getting due to your patience and resolve to move forward. An invitation back! Good luck.

Joanne said...

It's wonderful to bring that enthusiasm back to a WIP. I think it brings an energy to the words, there's no better way to work! Best wishes, and happy writing to you.

JLC said...

Oh yay! Glad you are returning to your 'old friend' with fresh new eyes. My first WIP is almost two years old now, and I am finally thinking about weeding through it. But I am only thinking about it. My current WIP (#3) still demands my attention. After I finish writing it, then I have to finish writing #2. (That one has been yelling at me ever since I started #3.) *sigh*

Melissa Amateis said...

Janna, I'm so excited for you! I can just feel your energy through your words. Isn't it amazing how meeting with other writers can really spark our enthusiasm for a project? :-)

Enjoy every moment of bliss! :-)

Melanie Hooyenga said...

Janna, I'm so relieved for you. Excited too, but relieved because I know how strongly you feel about this book and I can't imagine how happy to are now that it's going in an even better direction.

No more crying. That makes me cry.

WendyCinNYC said...

Good luck with Bliss Lake, Janna! I'm happy you are back in the groove.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Donna - I really appreciate your positive support. Thank you!

Jessica - It would have been an acceptable link for Avalon, but the big name publishing houses like 'em longer. Workin' on it! :)

Linda - So true!

Amy - I wouldn't have guessed setting it aside would help this much, that's for sure.

Joanne - Great phrasing, because it IS such a newfound energy. Thanks!

Janna Leadbetter said...

Turkey - If there's one thing I've learned, it's that the writing doesn't always happen when you want it to with two small kids in the house. I know it's the same for you! It'll happen, though, I know it. :)

Melissa - Absolutely! :)

Melanie - I'm an easy crier, though. ;)

Wendy - Thanks! You're a motivation, really.

Nadine said...

Yay, that is exciting! In Stephen King's book On Writing, he says he writes a draft then puts it in the drawer for 6 months so he can come back to it with fresh eyes and new ideas.

I'm excited that you have started on it again! I look forward to hearing updates!

Jen said...

That's great news, Janna. I'm so glad you are back to working on it, and I think that the break was exactly what you needed to find your way forward with it.


Glad you're back, btw. Missed you 'round these parts. :)

Janna Leadbetter said...

Nadine - I read On Writing recently, but didn't remember that part. Thanks for reminding me!

Jen - I think you're so right.

Cindy R. Wilson said...

Good luck with your manuscript. Maybe that break was what you needed to put your work into perspective. Take that new inspiration and run!

Kathy said...

Janna, without knowing much about the plot, I can tell you I like the title: Bliss Lake. Sounds very soothing. I think titles are really important.

When I'm in a bookstore, the titles are everything. If I like it, I'll pick up the book and start reading the blurb to see if I like the story.

Good luck on your book!

Angie Ledbetter said...

You go, big girl! Isn't it extraordinary how fellow writers can light the fires for you? So glad you tried the longhand. Sometimes that unlocks a part of the brain typing just can't. I'm really happy for you, Janna.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Cindy - I hope I can keep this momentum!

Thank you, Kathy! I'm drawn to itles, too. But though I'm attached to this one for various reasons, I have to realize it could be changed at some point in the future.

Angie - Whoo! Thanks. :)

Devon Ellington said...

It's amazing how putting a draft away for a few months can open new possibilities. Best wishes with the revisions.

Janna Leadbetter said...

Thanks, Devon! And thanks for stopping by. :)

Kelly said...

I felt just like that when I finished my little novella. Not worth much in the way of publishing. Needed major revamping from just the little I've learned about the craft of writing. I haven't even found a flash drive to copy it from my laptop to send you a copy... Maybe in a few more weeks!

I'm so excited to hear about Bliss Lake though. And even more excited to hear about how motivated you are! Go girl!

Janna Leadbetter said...

Kelly - One of the main things I've learned is, nothing is ever perfect the first go round. *sigh*