This time last year I was sure that 2017 was going to be The Big Year of Getting Somewhere. I was sure I’d have an agent, and a publishing date, and that if I didn’t have those things then it would feel like a wasted year. I wanted tangible milestones to prove to myself that I was progressing. None of that happened, of course, but it doesn’t feel like a wasted year.
I began contacting agents in November, so of course I haven’t heard back yet. The rest of the year I spent working super super hard to make Hold Back the Night better. I also rewrote another draft of Harriet Starling. Considering I was working full-time, I produced a massive amount of work.
And now I’m quite tired. I’ve spent the first weeks of this year watching inordinate amounts of television, and I’ve also decided to do the 100 submissions challenge. I’ve already submitted to 6 journals/competitions. Last year, I submitted 8 times overall so this is quite an improvement. I am, as the challenge says, going to collect rejections. It feels a little like adding bricks to a mesh net hanging over my head, hoping I can avoid getting hit when it falls apart, but hey, it’s a different kind of work compared to last year.
So for 2018, I’m meandering through a third draft of Harriet, I’m working on my query letter and synopsis for the next round of agent submissions for Hold Back the Night, and I’m reading old stories and trying to improve them, word by word, so that I can find a home for them. I’m ticking things off slowly, between episodes of The Good Wife (and my actual job), and watching that basket of bricks swinging over my head. How many more can it take? I’m hoping as the rejections fall in and I resubmit and resubmit, the load will become lighter. By December, they will be bricks made of foam that simply bounce to the ground, ready for me to throw back up in the air. And who knows, maybe one will turn to sparkles and cover me in glittery dust.
In the mean time, these are the potential novels I’m working on, because I’ve discovered that making things public is a good way of committing to them.
- Hold back the night
New Year’s Eve 2015, Dublin, a young Australian woman is sexually assaulted by a man she sees on a daily basis, in a bar, in front of a camera. Her instinct is for silence but, as she is continually exposed to her attacker, the pressure builds, and she must learn to use the support of those around her to regain her strength.
- Harriet Starling (working title/name of the main character because I haven’t thought of anything else)
A former sex-worker turned women’s right activist is caught off-guard by her daughter’s approaching adolescence, and struggles to teach her to deal with the common juxtaposition of sexual freedom and sexual violence.
- How to build a temple (working title)
Tabitha, a twelve year old girl whose friends have disowned her, helps her mother build a temple in their backyard to compensate for the fact that she can’t afford to travel to Thailand on a life-changing spiritual journey.