Anomaly · It's a Writer's Life · New Orleans · Writing

Winning, Failing, Editing, and #PitchWars

So, NanoWriMo, anyone? Well, I won. Yay! I did so the afternoon of the final day. It was an amazing feeling. After all of the hard work I’ve done this past year on this MS, to finally be able to complete it for Nano was a big deal. Since I went into Nano with it being almost 30k in, I was able to say that on November 30th, I had a full first draft. The early chapters are super clean thanks to my never-ending need to revise.

Which brings me to my next task: editing and submitting to PitchWars. What is that, you say? Find out about it here. In short, it’s a contest that pairs up amazing mentors with amateur writers to help improve their manuscript. What’s also awesome is a bunch of agents are participating for the agent round! So yours truly has been hard at working with the editing. I know, I know…

“You’re editing your Nano novel in a week to pitch to people?”

“Are you insane?”

Yes, why yes, I am. But I’m not insane for the reasons you’re assuming. For one, like I said, nearly 30k of the entire thing (over 30%) is already pretty clean. Sure, I’ve fixed a few things here and there but that’s all minor. In fact, the MS doesn’t get hairy until the last 10k. And well, let me be clear, I have faith that I can do it. Not that I’ll get picked. We’ll see about that. But I fully believe that my MS will be ready by the 12th. As it is, I’m already done with half of my first-round edits. I expect to go through at least one revision and three more edits before I pack it up and call it done. But editing isn’t even the problem I have here.

I’m writing about vampires. I know, queue the collective groans.

“Vampires are so overdone.”

“Yeah, because I’ve never read anything like that before.”

“Ugh, seriously?”

Yeah, seriously. It’s what I enjoy. I fell in love with this story way back before I was a reader (seriously, I didn’t even read a book a year), but had already fallen in love with the New Orleans Anne Rice painted in her “Lives of the Mayfair Witches” trilogy. I was living in New Orleans and thinking up story ideas (no small feat considering I didn’t READ many back then) and this line popped into my head:

“Vampires? In New Orleans? That’s such a cliche.”

And while a million other things about Eliza’s story have changed over the years, that line hasn’t. I still love it. I don’t care who doesn’t. For me, finishing ANOMALY has been a labor of love of the purest kind. I realize that the publishing industry is competitive. I realize that I couldn’t have picked a more over-saturated topic to write about. I realize I could have picked a city that isn’t synonymous with things that go bump in the night.

I could have.

I didn’t.

Because I love what I’ve written. I love it. And you know what? I’ll take loving my work over a strategic career move any day. Because no matter what the world tells me, I know damn well that if I love it, then somebody else does too. It sells for a reason, right?

Here’s the submitted query. It could use tweaking, I’m sure. But I HATE these things. They really drive me nuts.

How far would you go to save your sister?

Life as a college senior is stressful enough. Between mid-terms, stupid boys, and a rare blood condition, Eliza Landry is just trying to figure out what normal is—whatever that means—when she discovers that vampires aren’t just a thing of legend.

In a matter of moments, her life changes forever when she and her older sister Kate suffer a vampire attack which leaves her with two puncture wounds on her neck and an allergy to sunlight. But she’s still human, or at least she thinks she is. It doesn’t really matter—her main concern is that her sister is missing.

Sorrow turns to obsession, leading Eliza to piece together the puzzle of that terrifying night. Even stumbling upon a millennia-old vampire assassin named Luke Conrad who demands she stop looking into vampire affairs cannot deter her. Luke finds himself intrigued by her transitional state—something he’s never seen before in all of his years of life and agrees to let her tag along in his investigation.

When bodies start piling up and one of them is supposedly Kate’s, Eliza and Luke set out to discover who is behind all of the attacks. Soon, Eliza is drawn into the dark and dangerous world of the undead, with no guarantee she’ll make it out alive, and no doubt that she won’t like what she finds.

ANOMALY is a new adult/urban fantasy novel complete at approximately 82,000 words.

And now I go back to editing. Here’s hoping my red pen doesn’t run out of ink!


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