In many ways, you already know the big story in my July progress report: bright lights, big city. Much of the month was consumed by preparation for, attendance of, and decompression from converging on RWA Nationals in NYC with the other eight ladies. But wait, there’s more! And it has to do with story progress, which is always exciting, so let’s get started!
New Story. My five-book Victorian Romance series has now grown to 7 (planned) books. While there was always going to be a sixth, a wrap-up novella where one of the characters driving the others to their HEAs gets her own love story, there wasn’t going to be a launch novella. That changed at RWA when one of my business-savvy self-publishing friends recommended I write a 20k novella to launch the series.
My first reaction was, ‘yeah, right, good one’. I explained how my characters have already been paired with mates, and there are no more friends in the group of Harrow’s finest five to get an HEA. I maintained this position until I started packing at the end of the conference and my mind wandered to book 1 wherein there is a best friend of that book’s heroine who is a newlywed…But her husband isn’t one of the five male friends who tie the series together…Unless he could have known them for some reason…
You can see where this is going. I spent the train ride home brainstorming the basics of a plot and the turning point scenes. I’ve written a few of the scenes, tweaked the plot outline, set up a playlist, and shifted the writing schedule to make time for writing the rest of the 20k words, with a goal for a very messy first draft by the end of the month. (You heard me Elizabeth – I’m adding that to my goals list!)
Ongoing Stories. While I feel like I’ve been making great progress with my series, I must admit July was not a great month for word count. But as readers of this blog know, quality isn’t everything, and I’ve continued discovery and outline of later books in the series that have helped me strengthen the earlier books. So, just to recap – book 1 is in major revisions, with a goal to get it out to critique partners no later than the end of September. Book 2 is in first draft stage, with the goal of having it ready for critiques no later than the end of November. I’ve also started firming up timelines for development edits, line edits, and proofreading schedules. I’ll share more about that whole process when I move into the professional editing phase.
Submission Story. As I continue to develop and write other books, I can’t forget about a story very near and dear to my heart, My Girls. I still hold out hope of finding the right home for this story, and at the conference in July, I met two agents and an editor who requested the manuscript and who now have it in their possession. As I think I mentioned at some point here on the blog, while I’d submitted the story to three different agents over the course of a month at the end of 2014, I got rejections from all three within the same 24-hour period in early 2015. In keeping with that (terrible) precedent of bulk rejections, two of the five agents to whom I’d sent My Girls in the spring sent me rejections last night. But just like our plucky heroines who pick themselves, dust themselves off, and get back to their stories to fight for their goals, My Girls and I will keep keep fighting for our own HEA with an agent or editor who loves this book.
So, what’s your story? Did you make story progress in July (or early August)? Have you reached a word-count goal, submersed yourself in discovery, or solved an important plot point for your WIP?