The Next Chapter: A Writing Update

Well, welcome to 2022. It’s good? to be here…? (I have mixed emotions, as you can tell.)

While I’ve been occasionally giving publishing journey updates on Instagram and our podcast, I figured it was time to let you know what’s up where I started it all—this wonderful blog.

I last left you just when I started beta reading rounds for my second novel, Unattainable Reality. After two rounds, I finally dove back into the query trenches this summer.

Instead of blindly sending to a bunch of agents like I did last time, I used the holy grail of QueryTracker and queried in batches, editing my letter along the way.

During my time in the trenches, I’ve been through two #PitMads (with no luck), Pitch Wars (with no luck), and queried about 30 agents (with no luck). I’m planning on submitting to Author Mentor Match in a couple weeks, but I’m not getting my hopes up.

That all sounds sad, and after an existential crisis where I heavily considered self-publishing my first book—and found some great authortubers in the process—I came to my senses and realized that wouldn’t fulfil my dream, at least at this point in my life. My dream is to be traditionally published, to have those “gatekeepers” all agree my story is good and deserves to be told, and to just casually be in Barnes and Noble (say a prayer they don’t go out of business before then).

I know Unattainable Reality is sellable. I know my query letter is bomb. From the rejections I’ve received, I have a good feeling it’s my opening pages that don’t work. After winning a pitch and opening pages critique from an author on Twitter, I also bought a book all about writing beginnings that sell.

So, I’m planning on revamping UR’s opening pages before Author Mentor Match and continuing to query for a little bit after that.

If I still get nowhere, I’ll move on. It was so painful to move on from my first novel, and I know it will be with this one too. But I also know these two books were written when I was a teenager, and while barely any of the rough drafts remain in the current manuscripts, it’s time to write a new story with all the knowledge I have now. It’s time to write something I can outline fully, something I don’t need to retroactively apply story beats to, something that can prove I still have creativity to come up with kickass ideas.

I half-tried to do this with my first NaNoWriMo in 2021, as I came up with a new story based on the (very rough) third novel I also wrote when I was younger. I had a bunch of scenes I loved and didn’t want them to go to waste.

I only got a few thousand words in before giving up, and I realize now it’s probably to do with the fact that I’m still trying to base my stories around concepts I came up with as a teen. (Did my now-fiancé encourage me to write something new a long time ago? Yes. But was I stubborn? Yes.)

So, am I ready to move on from my first three stories that I’ve poured my heart into for years? Not really. But will I? I think the answer is finally yes.

In fact, I already have an idea. I even organized all my notes I’ve ever made from craft books and YouTube videos and made a cute little binder to outline the story. Did I mention I also got Scrivener for Christmas? No more 20 Word documents per story for me.

I have so many tools under my belt now. I’m no longer pantsing full novels on loose leaf paper in my childhood bedroom. I know I can do this.

Who’s still with me?

2 thoughts on “The Next Chapter: A Writing Update

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