Two weeks since I've blogged! Yikes!
I've been keeping busy. It occurred to me that I needed to get serious about querying Starcaster again because soon it will be November and after that, the Christmas break and after that, another post-NaNoWriMo query flood. I was caught up in that last year; I don't want to repeat the experience this year. Agent after agent stopped taking queries altogether, and many agents stopped replying at all. I ended up wishing for rejections! So it occurred to me that I needed to send my next batch of queries out now.
But I wasn't ready. Before I could do that, I really needed to revamp my opening because it is obvious that my old opening wasn't working. I very reluctantly dis-engaged my East of Yesterday brain and re-engaged my Starcaster brain. And I got to work.
I deleted the entire opening scene and started the novel with (for those of you who have read it) the arrival of Miss Henry. Just as Tory's running down the stairs of headquarters to meet her student, she meets Crowley coming up. He takes her into the men's dorm (!) where together, they listen through a convenient heat register to a conversation between Miss Henry and Mr. Bradburn, in which Mr. Bradburn assigns Miss Henry the task of spying on Tory.
I'm hoping this opening is much stronger. I have also renamed the novel, but I'll keep using the old name here in the blog.
This involved some major re-arranging, the inclusion of one backstory scene as a flashback, and following all that, an entire revision. I started out with 94,000 words. After my cut, my novel was bleeding profusely at barely 80,000 words. When I added most of the scenes back in their re-arranged and flashbacked places, and finished going through the whole thing again, I was still down to 88,000 words.
Which, to me, is uncomfortably short. A fantasy novel is generally between 80,000 and 100,000 words. I wanted to be comfortably in the middle. So I started going through deleted scenes. And I found a gem. It was where Tory briefs the king. None of you have read this; I never finished the scene because it just fizzled when I was trying to write it. Well, timing is everything because I thought of a great way to end the scene. I put the scene back in the novel where I originally envisioned it (the next morning after Crowley is shot), and smoothed everything that came after.
Now, it's 91,000 words. And I'm very happy with it.
Now I just need to rewrite my query. Some of you will be getting emails about this; thanks in advance for any help you might be able to give me!
Oh, and I also have a potential short story. My old opening could very well be a standalone adventure. I think I'll spiff it up and send it to various fantasy magazines.