Thursday, July 12, 2007

You know why I hate touring?

I hate touring because the kids invariably get sick.

Yest, on the road again--and home again. This time our trip was half touring, half family vacation, and we got to see all the families. Also share the stomach flu with them. How lovely. There were many good shows, lots of good talk, more than enough getting stressed, and I'm glad we're home.

One significant thing happened--my mother, fearing I would be offended, suggested that what I really write is Young Adult Lit (in publishing, as I understand it, that category covers junior high and some high school aged readers, what's called Teen Lit in bookstores and libraries and academic circles). I was not offended. In fact, that's what I set out to write in the first place. I accepted the suggestion immediately, and applied it to my WIPs (works in progress), too, and found that the new focus was the solution to lots of my problems.

And viewing myself that way ended up being a great relief.

I immediately knew what I needed to do to "fix" Poison Spindle to be a YA book again. Then I realized it was twice too long (instead of just 15% too long). But then I realized I could make it into two books if I divided them not where the ms was divided right then, but about 20 pages later. This is not the exact middle of the manuscript, but it's a nice "done but what next" kind of stopping point like you want for leading someone to the sequel. Writing is not a fast craft, especially with three or four kids at (or on) my knees at any one time, so it took me two hours to finish the changes. But only two hours. I re-read the dialogue and realized that Kate, the heroine, already acted 16, just like my mom said. No change necessary there. And, as with all good edits in this book, the change allowed me to delete and simplify some things that I had to write pages of dialogue to "justify" (like how come nobody noticed Kate was gone for 2 months?).

So, dare I say it again? The book is finished (?).......and is now one story, but could be two books legitimately.

Anyway, I then went to my other books. Maggie, the ex-spy housewife, is still an adult book series and always will be. But the Western, which was going to be a sequel to the Poison Spindle Problem, is no longer a "Bookstore" book. Instead, it is a standalone YA novel, "Sophronia Kelley, Hired Gun", about a teenage sharpshooter who, after lying about her age to get in with Annie Oakley's girls, gets hired to be the President's daughter's bodyguard as she's going to a new women's university in California. Half-way there, the train they are on is held up by "Injuns" and Sophronia is too young and scared to actually shoot a man (she's really 15-year-old actress, not a cowboy!), so she loses the President's daughter. Instead of going on, she sets out into the Arizona desert to find the girl and make good her promise to protect her. It just works so much better as a YA book! And the other one, Melora and the Maltese Falcon, which I noted it's permutations before, is still a mystery, but I've restored Melora to her 14-year-old splendor. Instead of saving her boyfriend, she's out to rescue her father. Other than that, the story stays the same. Wow--do I go in circles or what?!

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