Monday, June 9, 2008


Long post here, but I need to work this out. I need help. Be my shrink.

My mind is being torn apart by two separate thought processes. As you all know, I have been working on revising a YA epic fantasy novel that has yet to be named, but I refer to it as Tristan. Anyway, I love Tristan, he's my baby. He's the first novel I ever completed. However, I still have a ways to go on the editing. *sigh* It's taking longer than I thought. And, lately, I have been reading about how the market for epic fantasy is shrinking.
I have also been questioning myself as to whether or not Tristan is just a little cliche in it's concept. In a nut shell: A boy discovers that he is one of four special guardians who protect the borders of the lone magical nation.
I really tried to shake things up a bit. There are many things that are unique, but sometimes I have this nagging thought that an agent will only see the somewhat familiar concept and deem it cliche. And then send a form rejection letter.

Here's the shake up. In recent weeks I have been cooking an idea for a new novel. This idea is, if I do say so myself, dynamite. YA still, but contemporary and much more light hearted. I'll call her Newy. I LOVE the concept. It's pretty unique. I don't think I've seen anything like it.
And, here's the big thing: Newy is much more marketable than Tristan. I have a pretty good idea of where I am going with it, so I think I could write her pretty fast. Obviously, however, she is still just an idea scribbled out on several pages of my Moleskine. Not a single word actually written. Not even a plot outline.

So, there are two different people in my head, and they are constantly battling over control of my thoughts.

Judy: Ditch Tristan. It's good, but just not marketable right now. You are wasting time editing a novel that will never get published. Look, we all love him. He taught us a lot. So, let's consider him as your practise novel. The novel that taught you how to write a novel.
Work on Newy. She's really good, and so much more marketable. Also, now that you've worked through the process of writing, you could get her out fast. Strike now, while the iron is hot. Use your precious little writing time to work on something that could really be published.

Jody: Hey, hey, calm down here. You are just letting your nerves get to you. Tristan is a really good story. True, you have work to do, but not that much. If you focus your efforts, you can finish edits by July, send it to your readers, revise again in August, and have queries out by September.
If you start Newy, you won't even have the first draft done by September. Just wait. You can start Newy as soon as you begin querying Tristan. Newy will still be just as marketable, and just as good in a few months.
Don't throw away all of the work you have done. Don't give up. You're so close. You are just freaking out right now. Even if Tristan is not as marketable, even if he doesn't get published, it will still be a really good experience for you to complete the editing process and send out queries. You will learn a lot. So, just stay the course, and you will be glad that you did.

The trouble is, a different times, each one of them seems to ring true, as my "writer's intuition" speaking to me. Moments when Judy is in control, I feel really strongly that I should put Tristan in a drawer for now. But, when Jody is in control, I am equally passionate about finishing Tristan and getting him out onto the market.

WHO IS RIGHT????? I don't know. I don't know what to do. All I know is this: my writing time is very limited. I don't think I can work on both simultaneously. But, maybe I can. I just don't know anything. I feel so confused. HELP!!!!!!!!!!


Natalie said...

Okay, here's my advice coming from a person who does have a "practice" novel. If you're not passionate about it, it will be hard to convince others that you are.

I wasn't pasisonate about Sevene--though she taught me a lot--so I put her in the drawer. It sounds like you are still passionate about Tristan, so I would keep working on it. Only put it away when you can feel no regret in doing so.

Now when I was knee deep in zombies the dragons popped into my head and this is what I did:

1. I kept most of my time on zombies, but admitted that I didn't want to lose the dragon idea.

2. Anytime I got a snippet of dragon idea, I logged it away in a word doc as a note so I wouldn't forget.

3. When the dragons just had to get out, I let them and wrote a little bit of it (no more than 30mins spent).

4. I pushed forward on zombies so I could finish and get to the next great idea. Great motivation!

Editing is just awful--it's very easy to get swept away in a new exciting idea. Starting a new book is like reading a book for the first time--it's still exciting. Editing makes even the most exciting parts of your book seem deathly dull. Push through, see what your readers think, and go from there.

Renee Collins said...

Yeah, you a right Natalie. I do still feel passionate about Tristan. I think I just having anxiety that it's not marketable, so why waste my time right?

You have some good advice. I like the idea of working on Newy just a little every once in a while, but sticking with the edits on Tristan.

Natalie said...

This is depressing, but nothing is really marketable these days. Look at the agent seems like the industry is in a bit of a panic right now.

Chick lit is dead, vampires are dead, epic fantasy, or whatever--sounds like everything is dead save the famous person memoir...

Renee Collins said...

stupid famous people. >:(

Actually, it drives me crazy that any dumb celebrity can write a memoir, or novel, or children's book, and it's guarenteed to be published. Where's the justice?

Natalie said...

It drives me crazy too, it really is unfair that they can just throw their name out and sell a book. Grrr...

Kiersten said...

Hey Renee, maybe you need a break from Tristan. Honestly, I edit better when I've got a couple month's distance between myself and a manuscript. I think if I had waited on my Tut edit, I would have taken out the first chapter a lot sooner and not screwed up my chances with some agents.

And if you are passionate about the story, I say strike while the iron is hot. I've let some ideas sit too long to the point where they stagnate and I lose interest.

But in the end, YOU are the one who understands your writing style and abilities, so only you can make the best decision ; )

All of Natalie's advice is awesome, as usual.

Renee Collins said...

Thanks, I'm glad I have you guys to bounce ideas off of.

Ben is great and all, but he is about as left brained as they come. He approaches every problem like a mathmatical equation.

Sometimes I just need to get the opinion of fellow writers.