Immediate thought comes to mind: if I ever DO sell this novel & become a published author, I am really gonna have to improve my self-promotion skills. It’s been way too long since I’ve updated on here!
Well, it’s the end of July 2011, a little over a year since this site went live, and I just finished sending out 15 more query letters to 15 highly talented, attractive, fabulous agents. (If you’re one of them and reading this right now, I mean every word… *wink wink*)
In all seriousness, it hasn’t gotten any easier. It’s still the most nerve-wracking process I’ve ever endured, and just the thought of checking my email for the next few months causes instant nausea and fear.
I spent the last 6 months revising my book. By revising, I mean revamping. And by revamping, I mean rewriting. A significant amount has been retooled and rewritten for clarity, interest, plot acceleration, and general trying-to-make-it-better-ness. The most helpful advice I got from an agent so far is “MUCH could be cut out.” (They are a people of few words.) I wasn’t told what could be cut out, so I just went with that advice and started choppin’. I found out as I went along that she was right- MUCH could be edited and fixed. A lot of the language was too formal and needed to be brought up to modern times. A lot of the information dump just slowed the story down. I needed to take more risks- wanna kill a character? Go for it! Does someone need to make a painful decision? Sure, why not! I had to put everything on the line and stop playing it safe. I had to write a book that I wanted to read… not just what I thought might sell.
Chloe has become a tertiary character. Her part is so small now that I no longer obsess over who will play her in the movie. She has a minor crush on Kendrick, but it’s not mutual and it doesn’t lead to anything.
Kendrick & Savannah have gotten an upgrade from PG to PG-13 and I am THRILLED for that. There are no longer any questions of “if they might kinda sorta like each other in the broadest sense of the term”. No- they have fallen for each other hard.
Conner has grown into a much more dynamic and interesting character. He has layers now, people! Yes, he’s still got it bad for Savannah, but that doesn’t define him anymore. He definitely goes through the most changes of anyone in the novel, and his scenes provide the most humor… and the most cringe-worthy moments, IMO.
Fidel & Norana have gotten upgrades to secondary characters. They are in more scenes now, their decisions matter, and they both affect change for our three main characters. I continue to love them both.
Landon & Roma are still my badasses with capital Bs, and they continue to produce chills throughout the latter half of the book. Unfortunately, they no longer get a voice in the epilogue (it was changed to just one character’s POV), which is a real loss, but they still induce vim and vigor in every scene they’re in. I just wish Lucy Hale would stop aging so she could play Roma in the movie adaptation. :-/
As for plot differences, there’s more romance and action now, and the dialogue between the characters feels so much more natural. Kendrick and Conner don’t play it safe when it comes to going at it with each other, and neither one is unclear about their feelings for Savannah. They are bolder, gutsier, and ultimately more interesting.
The overall theme of the rewrite seems to be, let’s take this mythical battle between the Centaurs and the Lapiths and bring it to 2011. For the record, the two races really DID battle each other the way Kendrick describes it in the book… er, they really did if you believe in Greek mythology. Basically, I wanted to take a little-known story and blow it up. Let’s say these people were real. Let’s say these two races really did start to hate each other after drama at a family wedding. Let’s say they never got past their differences. Thousands of years later… where would their descendents be? Boom: You have Kendrick, Fidel, Norana vs. Conner, Landon, Roma. Savannah is the unfortunate human exposed to something that never should have involved her in the first place.
The other major theme that emerged was: how much can one choice matter? The characters make so many decisions along the course of the prequel and novel that end up having devastating or rewarding effects. The centaurs decide to come to Earth, _________ decides to turn his back on Lapithia and come to Earth, Savannah decides to believe Kendrick, __________ decides to stay on Earth and reject Centaura, __________ accepts the Ciferous and all that comes with it, etc. etc. Call it the butterfly effect if you will, but I enjoyed exploring the after-effects of the decisions my characters made.
And now, once again, it’s out of my hands. Into God’s (not “the gods’”, as Kendrick might suggest, but the One & Only) and into the inboxes of those 15 talented people I mentioned earlier. The wonderful thing about technology nowadays is I feel that I know these agents even though they haven’t a clue who I am. After researching them for the past few weeks, I now know who updates their Twitter obsessively, who enjoys vampire romance novels as much as me, who has a son with autism, and who flips out when her dog chews books but not her shoes.
The one thing I still have left to discover is… who will fall in love with Kendrick as much as I have? Yet to be determined… stay tuned!
(PS: If you were one of my beta readers for Winged Descent and have any interest in reading the novel after all edits & changes have been made, please contact me. I’d love to share!)