Monday, September 10, 2007

Of Rejections and Trunk Novels

So, I mentioned my total rejection count at some point and the response to that suggested that more information on triumph over adversity might be of interest.

Here are my novel stats: I've written 11 at this point. The first one I sold was #4. I didn't sell that one until after I'd finished #7. At the moment I've sold #s 4, 9, 11, and 12.

5, 6, 7, 8, and 10 are still out searching for homes–a very clear demonstration that selling a first novel doesn't mean you automatically sell the rest. More perspective on that: I think that all five of those are stronger books than WebMage, three a bit stronger, two much stronger.

1, 2, and 3 are stored away neatly and will not see the light of day in current draft. I do periodically take out all three, examine the things I like, look at the flaws, sigh, and put them away again. #2 can probably be saved by throwing away the first three chapters and writing something new to get the characters and story to the same place. #3 I will probably read, put in a box and then draft a new (YA) version from scratch--it's mostly just too long and kind of clunkily written. #1...#1 I love but I don't know that I can extract the stuff I love from the stuff that makes it not work without a whole lot more effort than just writing a new novel from scratch.

What about you, oh reader? Any thoughts on rejections or trunk novels? Bemused amazement at the pigheadedness it takes to keep going in light of numbers like those above? Recipes for disaster?


Kelly Swails said...

Seeing lists like this used to make me feel like I was too far behind to ever catch up. Now it makes me feel like I should never give up.

I dunno, Y, I feel good about my current novel. It's number 4. I keep thinking this could be the one that lands an agent and actually gets sold. Gotta think that to stay sane, even if it doesn't pan out.

The first three are going to stay in the trunk for a little while longer. It needs to be completely torn apart, half thrown-out, and reassembled into one book. The basic story is good, I think, but it needs a major overhaul and it's not something I want to tackle right now.

And I haven't received any rejections for ... a while. My stuff is out, but nothing's come back lately. Oddly, I feel out-of-sorts and neglected.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 trunk novels. To begin with two aren't even full length (They're about 50k.) Only one has been shopped. 5/6 Agents said it was beautiful writing but the story wasn't right for the market. I haven't given up on any of them, because I believe they all have merit. I just haven't had time to redo them yet either. So I'm keeping some notes on them, calling them first drafts and planning to someday go back and bring them up to par.

Kelly McCullough said...

X, don't worry about catching up. What you want to do is skip a bunch of the dead ends I went down and get to a good publishing position faster than I did-something you're well on your way to doing with the anthology track you're on now.

Michele-I wish you luck with the trunk revisions. I've done some of that, which is why book two may see the light of day again sometime before 2010. I know other writers who've managed to clear out their whole backlog after the first couple of books did well, though it's something of a mixed blessing depending on how you've changed as a writer between books.