But Now What

Last week I finished the third in my series for middle grade readers. I sent the ms to my agent. As I wrote him, I sanded and polished this book, read each chapter aloud at least three times and ran it through a word frequency counter. (Crap, I am fond of the words “like” and “time”.)

Do I think my work on this novel is done? Nah. But I don’t mind. The characters still make me smile after these months. I forget I am reading when I read it. 

But now what? I admit feeling a little lost. It’s hard not to be using words in such a constructive way.

I already know the next two books I will write. One will be the fourth in this series. The other is a YA book with a few of the characters. Alas, I’m not ready to begin either. 

I am not drawn to writing short stories although I’ve had several published. I read once author Annie Proulx said it was more difficult — and interesting —  for her to write short stories than novels. Perhaps it’s true for me, too, although I’m no Annie Proulx.

So I went way, way back to my first novel, set in a small town in western Massachusetts, where I lived for 25 years. I took the best and worst of the town. I’ll also say the book has a triangle of sorts, a bar, a dog, and a big, bad secret.

My former agent tried valiantly to get this novel published but couldn’t. A few years ago, I took a hard look at the book and saw gaping holes. I did a rewrite. When I took a look this weekend, I found good writing and problems still. For instance, I was too fond of the words “that” and “had” when I wrote it. Spencer has since helped me break the habit. 

I have found a worthwhile project for now: rereading my first novel and using my newfound knowledge to make it better. After this, who knows? 


One thought on “But Now What

  1. Congratulations, Joan! You will get them all published, no doubt about that.
    I can empathize with the “like” and “time” issue. and Some words can get sticky, que no? Mucha good luck!!

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