Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Status Report

I noticed that a few people actually check this blog periodically, so maybe there's a passing interest out there in what I'm doing. Just an update, then: I am working on the second revision of the book now. I've finished Act II and am starting the last Act today. A few days after I finished the first draft, we went to Payson to spend the weekend with my wife's mother at their cabin. I was sitting down for breakfast, and my wife noticed I had an odd look on my face.

"Thinking about your book?" she asks.


"Got a new idea for it?"


"Is it going to be a lot of work?"


And sure enough, it is. But I can already see the end result is worth it. Basically I've added in a second storyline set in 1945 around the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, in World War II. It's told from the point of view of the protagonist's wife, Elisia, whose funeral in 2007 starts off the main storyline. The result is that we not only get to know Elisia, we also get to learn about Farmer (the protagonist) from her point of view. I'm drawing strong parallels between the storylines. In fact, the answer to the mystery of the main plotline will actually have its roots in the 1945 plotline. Both plotlines will climax at the same point, even though they take place 62 years apart -- the solution echoes across the two time periods. Pretty neat, assuming I'm pulling it off correctly. So far, so good, though.

Obviously that means I have to write the second storyline, so I'm doing that as part of the revision process. All of the continuity problems mentioned in my previous post have been resolved as well, so that's a relief. I'm really enjoying writing about Elisia and letting the reader get to know her directly rather than just through Farmer's memories of her.

In other news, I've been in contact with an agent from Donald Maass' agency, which is hands-down my first choice for representation. He critiqued my query letter for me and gave me a few suggestions. He said the final version was "first-rate" and definitely ready to go. One of his notes after the plot hook paragraph was "Wow! I want to read this one!", so that is certainly encouraging. He also encouraged me to query him "for real" when the book is ready. I expect that will be a couple of months, though, in which time he may have completely forgotten who I am. Ah well. I had planned to have this next draft ready for initial critique by the end of the week, but both kids are violently ill right now, so I'm not going to make that goal (and the semester starts next week). Hopefully I'll only be a week or so late, though. We'll see.

I'm really stoked about the agent's response, though. Landing any agent at Don Maass would simply be the best possible thing that could happen to me professionally, but I like Stephen personall,y as well. I feel like we could work together very easily. And as long-time readers of this blog know, Don Maass' philosophy towards writing almost exactly matches my own in any event.

I'll post more when this draft is in a form that I might actually show to someone...

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