I am an idiot.
I like to think I’m an intelligent, sensible person. But I have no impulse control. Oh, it’s gotten better over the years; I don’t buy as many books and sweaters as I used to. I’m working on the whole cookie thing (hard to do when there’s a Specialty’s Bakery right across the street). I no longer rush out opening weekend to see the newest must-see movie. Well, unless it’s the new James Bond film.
I have yet to apply this self control to my writing. This, my friends, is a Very Bad Thing.
Sitting at lunch on the last day of the Emerald City Writer’s Conference, I reached the conclusion I may have overextended myself. Last week, I participated in another pitch contest (Hook, Line, and Sinker) that resulted in two requests for partial manuscripts for Finders Keepers. I walked away Saturday morning with two requests for full manuscripts for two different projects, one of which was Finders Keepers. I sent in a query about three weeks ago to an agent, who then requested the first three chapters of yet another manuscript. And the results of the On the Far Side contest were announced, and as a result of taking 1st place in my category, the judge wanted to see the full manuscript. Oh, yeah, that’s another project.
What does that leave me with? Four. Four different projects out on some sort of submission.
On the surface, this looks fantastic and totally doable. Two of the projects have been edited to the best of my ability and short of a professional reviewing and making suggestions, I think they’re ready to go. One just finished (or is mostly finished) a round of beta reading, and going through and implementing the suggestions isn’t terribly taxing-I’m about halfway through at this point. The last one…I don’t want to think about the last one. I just completed a major overhaul on it, sent it off to beta readers, and one got back to me already, letting me know that the story itself is fine, just some minor suggestions, tweaking a few POV points that aren’t clear.
Then she got into the grammar. Namely, dangling participles. Now, I haven’t actually gone through and done a thorough review of it, to see how much of an issue this is, so it may not be too bad. Still, having only one project that needs a little more TLC than the others at this point shouldn’t be too difficult, right?
Um, no. Not so much.
See, that one manuscript, with the agent who requested the first three chapters? I’ve been pitching it as the start of a trilogy. When I wrote it, I hadn’t intended to extend the story beyond what I’d written, but one of my friends read it and wanted to know what happened to a couple of the tertiary characters. Also, it’s a bit on the short side, and as a lot of the digital first publishers are big on series, I kinda stepped right into that one.
Those two full manuscript requests? Both times the editor in question asked if it was meant to be part of a series. Yes, yes they are. I’ve got vague, one-sentence descriptions for what happens in the rest of the books for both series. I have yet to actually think about what happens in those books, much less start writing them.
The only one I’m not worried about? The Shadowdemon trilogy. All three books are written. Sure, they need editing, but I need to not stress about something, and Shadowdemon has been elected.
I’m reminded of an old blog post by Richelle Mead, where she talks about needing a break and preparing for her first kid. Hedging her bets, Mead pitched three different series (Vampire Academy, the Eugenie Markham series, and the Georgina Kincaid series) thinking she’d be lucky if only one of them were picked up. All three ended up being sold, so at one point, she was writing three different series and getting ready to start a fourth (Bloodlines). Mead had the advantage of not having to work (at least, I’m pretty sure that was the case, at least once the books took off), but still. It’s exhausting just reading about it.
I know the chances of any of the four projects I’ve got out being sold are slim, which is why I’m not quite ready to remove all the irons from the fire. But I’ve got to learn that just because a project is as ready as I’m going to get it doesn’t mean I should actually pitch the damn thing. Otherwise, I’ll end up under the desk, rocking back and forth, whimpering. Or lying face down in the gutter with an empty bottle of wine next to me.
Actually, wine sounds pretty good right now. Who wants to join me for a drink?