Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Big "R" and Where to Go Next

The first agent passed on The House of Arkhangel'sk. The angels and demons, she said, were too human. Well, at least I succeeded in making them what I wanted them to be.

I know I shouldn't let it affect me, but every rejection does, and of course it's worse when it's on a manuscript and not just a query. There's no pretending I missed the "magic words" that get you in the door. It was my writing that failed to engage.

I also know that unpublished writers should never write trilogies or series, but that was what was in my head, so that is what I wrote, and I've recently started working on a second trilogy in the same world. While I realize this is only one rejection, I'm afraid I may be heading for misery by staying on this path. If this book doesn't make it, I am wasting more years of my life on an unattainable goal.

This is what wrecked me the last time. I was working on a sequel to Anamnesis and had another in mind, and wrote a novella in the same world, and when it finally hit me that Anamnesis was not to be, I had nothing.

I can't seem to walk away from great characters once I've created them. (And they are. I know that. If the book does not succeed, it is not the fault of these characters, it is my failure to do them justice.) But I cannot spend another twelve years of my life chasing a mirage. I have to walk away and work on something new. I simply don't know how.

What's worse is that if I do walk away, I will always regret it. I wish I had finished the Anamnesis sequel, but everyone told me I should let it go. Shiva still gives me dark looks from deep in my soul where I've shoved her down. And I've been so excited about this new book as I start to plot. If I stop and let it go now, it will never come to be. It's like being told to get an abortion just as I've really gotten excited about being pregnant.

So what do I do? Do I do the sensible thing and get rid of it now before I get too attached, or do I go with what my heart wants? (The irony of my art imitating my life is not lost on me. I have been faced with this decision before.) Can I write something else? If I knew where these stories came from, I would be down there right now digging in the alluvial mud for another.

I think I hate my muse.

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