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David D. Levine
29 February 2008 @ 08:26 am
Word count: 128416 | Since last entry: 23

Nothing like getting a rejection, a difficult critique, and a deadline in the same week.

I've been spending every waking hour not spent on something else (yes, that's a tautology) on getting my second novel ready for the April novel workshop. The deadline isn't until March 10, but as we're leaving for Potlatch this morning and won't be back home until March 9 I have to get it in the mail today.

As I mentioned in my last entry, I put down the revisions a couple of days ago and have been working on the synopsis and other supporting documents. It took me about a day and a half to write a 22-page synopsis, then about half a day to cut it down to 14 pages.

What a load of fetid dingoes' kidneys.

Writing the synopsis gives me a 40,000 foot view of the novel and shows me all the places the plot doesn't fit together, all the places the characters are just marching in place and angsting over the same things over and over, all the places I set something up and never followed through, all the places I had something happen without proper setup, all the places I did the right thing in the wrong place. As with the last novel, the synopsis makes more sense than what's on the page. But this time I intend to take what I've learned and make the novel more like the synopsis (after the workshop).

In a couple of cases this is going to be a challenge. Specifically, I decided to take the critique feedback I got from djonn on the ending and write a completely different ending in the synopsis (with a few related changes in the last few chapters to set it up properly). I feel that I can get away with this here because most of the workshoppers will only get the first 50 pages and synopsis. Only two workshoppers will get the whole novel, and that isn't going out until later. So I have from now until later to rewrite the ending to match the synopsis. How late is "later"? I don't know, but probably shortly after March 10. Which means I should try to work on this while I'm on vacation. That didn't work too well while I was in DC, but we'll see. Worse comes to worst, the two workshoppers who get the whole manuscript will get to compare and contrast the two endings (but I don't want to do that, it would be unprofessional).

Yesterday I also got a rejection on my first novel. It has now been rejected by all of the major publishers and several of the more respected minors. It has maybe three minor publishers left to try before I trunk it. The rejections have been fairly consistent and the problem is structural. Basically, I should never have tried such a nonstandard time structure in a first novel. Theoretically I could take the novel apart and rewrite it with a more normal structure, but I think that time would be better spent writing another novel from the ground up. I also thought about chopping the novel into short stories, but I don't see any single section that can be made to have a satisfying ending.

I remember how good I felt about that first novel when I finished it.

And now I look at this pile of scribbled-on paper ready to go to the workshop and I wonder why I bother.

Waah.

Nebula nominee Nebula nominee Nebula nominee.

(Doesn't help as much as you might think.)