Saturday, March 29, 2008

A Review of Works in Progress

As far as I'm concerned, a ms. is a WIP until it's pub'd. (ooo, look at me with the abbreviations!)

My first pub-worthy WIP is a YA Fantasy called BABBLETONGUE. It's the closest to publishing as I've gotten so far, too; a Random House editor read and did a first round editing with it before backing out. I've got another completed ms., THE RED THREAD, and am currently working on a new project that isn't close to being finished yet.

WIP: BABBLETONGUE, YA Fantasy aimed at teen girls; 65k words

Synopsis: Fifteen-year-old Mina Hawthorne is blunt, temperamental, and has the housekeeping skills of the average frat boy. She could care less about a quest to find and capture an evil megalomaniac who threatens the universe, and a talking cat on her doorstep certainly isn't going to change her mind. However, when that talking cat informs Mina that she can speak a rare magical language--and that if she doesn't help the forces of good fight the evil Unnamer, she'll be placing her beloved grandmother in danger--well, that's enough to convince her to join the good side. That is, until she discovers that she can almost sympathize with the Unnamer's motives...and that he may be the only one who can cure her grandmother. Saving the universe just doesn't seem that important anymore.

Evaluation: This is the first thing I ever wrote worth publishing (something like the third book I wrote; but the others are under the bed, so they don't count, right? Right?). Anyway, it's different and funny, but it may be too different...not quite the thing for a break-out novel. I get lots of agent and editor nibbles from this one--lots of requests for partials and fulls, but I think it's ultimately turned down because it is a bit random (I was going for a Douglas Adams kind of humor) and it's certainly not a safe bet.

Status: On hold. After a close look at the first fifty pages from my crit group, I know I need to tone down the opener and focus on establishing the plot in a way that doesn't leave my readers banging their heads on the table. So this one is on hold, and will be edited and revised even more.

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WIP: THE RED THREAD, YA Fantasy, aimed at teen girls, about 70k words

Synopsis: In THE RED THREAD, sixteen year old Chloe has been unexpectedly dropped into a world where monsters are real and indoor plumbing isn't, and the knight in shining armor she thought would save her turns out to be a berserker who tends to go mad with bloodlust at the most inconvenient times. The knight, Heath, is on a quest to save a kidnapped princess and defeat an evil tyrant. Chloe joins Heath, but her fairytale perception of his world is skewed when she realizes that the enemy Heath is fighting is linked to her own brother. In THE RED THREAD, Chloe must figure out how she can save her brother, even if he doesn't want to be saved, and how far she is willing to go for the knight she's falling in love with...even if he doesn't love her back.

Evaluation: This book is, in my opinion, much more marketable than BABBLETONGUE. For one thing, I wrote it based on some of the positive comments that the editor at Random House said about BABBLETONGUE (i.e. she liked the will-they/won't-they romance, she liked the action). Also, I kept in mind what I'd learned about the market and what would sell when writing this one. It's not to say it's formulaic--far from it. I just kept a better mind of what readers would want, not just what I wanted in this one.

Status: After one more edit, this is the ms. that will go out on the query round next. I'm focusing on this one for the time being, as I do think it more marketable than BABBLETONGUE.

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WIP: THE AMNESIA DOOR

...wait and see for the rest!
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