Sunday, February 24, 2008

They'll Take Anything

On chat with my wonderful editor (two houses, five books), Michelle. We got to talking about the Small Press Paradigm. We wonder whether the small press sales you rack up are an asset to the agent-hunt? or possibly even a liability?

See, I'm not hearing it specifically from agents, but by and large there's a perception out there that if you're published by a small press, it means automatically that your work is substandard, because small presses are all the same. They will publish anything sent to them. They do no screening nor do they do any editing. They put out rubbish, so that's why it's necessary to screen small press titles out of some review sites, many award competitions, RWA type contests, and the like.

This is rubbish. Small presses have standards. They DO screen the fiction that is sent to them. They reject a high percentage of the submitted material. They DO edit. There is nothing basic that prevents small press books from competing on any playing field you choose--save the perception out there that these are second class work that must be suppressed at all costs.

So, Virginia, do not send a small press your 600,000 word epic fantasy or your angst-ridden memoir. They're looking for better things.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Searching for a Mood

SEASONS IN THE MIST is semi-officially, sort of, done. I finished the final edits this past week, and put it to bed 'til I feel like re-reading it for more edits, or 'til it sells, or 'til an agent wants the full manuscript. Sometimes when you work on a book it starts to pall, after a while. So I've put this book to bed and I've started the next one.

PEACEWEAVER will be a medieval also, set in a time period earlier than that of SEASONS. It's set in north Wales, amid two warring clans who try to unite to repel the Saxon and Norse incursions, and use a young girl as a pawn in their search for an end to the warfare. I really like the idea, I know exactly where it's going and who the characters are.

What I'm after is a "feel" for the time. Little removed from the Dark Ages, I'm sure 958 Wales had its own tone and flavor, different from 14th century England. My first five pages lack the flavor. I'll tweak, edit, and up the emotion and detail until that taste is very apparent, even from page one. But at this point it's frustrating when I know I ALMOST have it...but not.

Wish me luck on the new project!