Back in December, I submitted a few entries to the San Antonio Writers’ Guild Annual Writing Contest. Preparing flash fiction and short stories for that provided a welcome respite from the grind of trying to finish my current novel. And now, after a few months of judging and waiting, the results are in!
the beast of rose valley
It’s back to the waiting game now as I anxiously hope to hear back from agents about The Beast of Rose Valley. I did get a partial request from one agent, so that’s great news, but otherwise it’s been only crickets.
The important part, though, is to remain undeterred! I’ve gone back to work on The Great Republic and I’m making great strides on that novel now. Not to undermine The Beast of Rose Valley, but I think this book will be even better!
I started out with what I thought was a horror novel, only to be told that it was more of a mystery. So I worked feverishly towards changes that would make it more horror-y. I thought I had done it, but another professional review of my novel again reiterated that I had written a mystery.
One thing that I’ve heard over and over as I’ve embarked on this goal of getting a book published is that writing a novel is a team sport. That sounds counter-intuitive, but generally it’s referring to a lot of people that I don’t have yet — editors, agents, publishers, etc. This weekend, however, I found another way to make writing a team sport — other writers!
I attended the inaugural Paragraph Ranch Writer’s Workshop in Spur, TX. It was a great environment where I got some great feedback from Tex Thompson on The Beast of Rose Valley and some sage advice from the organizers of the event.
It’s been a while since I updated, and blogs tend to fail when they don’t get updated. There’s not a lot of news to report related to my writing, but I have switched focus again back to The Beast of Rose Valley.
I have a good start on The Great Republic, and I will get back to it, but after getting another beta reader on The Beast of Rose Valley and then also based on some of the results of my querying, I’ve decided (and been advised) that it’s a solid book with a slow start. Given that it’s horror/thriller, that just won’t do.
When the central evil of your book is a a creature of unknown origins, it becomes difficult to create emotional drama. It’s easy enough to create action and physical drama with a monster, but it’s doesn’t make sense for the beast to start having philosophical discussions with the characters.
Enter Sheriff Cam Donner. He’s the sheriff of Rose Valley, and he’s not too keen on inviting trouble on his watch. When a lamb gets ripped in half, he’d rather attribute the attack to coyotes just to keep the peace. It’s hard to confront a fearsome creature when the town’s chief protector isn’t onboard.
This week has been a busy week for The Beast of Rose Valley!
I received the results from my editorial assessment and it was full of juicy feedback that put me straight to work. A hearty thanks to Allyson Rudolph for giving me pro tips for turning my first draft into an amazing second draft!
For me, at least, writing the book was the easy part! Editing it is proving to be much harder. I don’t have a ton of typos, and I think my grammar is mostly pretty good, but I’m also exceptionally biased and blind to a lot of things at this point.
The wife is giving the book a once over to offer suggestions with pacing and plot. She’s especially keen at latching on to things that don’t make sense, or take her out of the story. That sort of feedback is immensely helpful.
This week, I thought I’d start introducing my characters. I have no idea if that’s a normal thing to do, but why not?
The main character of The Beast of Rose Valley is Jake Rollins. He grew up in Rose Valley, but hit the road when he turned 18 to become a Software Engineer. The insular town of Rose Valley was just a little more than he could handle.