You were fantastic, novel 7!
Novel 7 was conceived on June 14, 2014. At least, that is the day I created a WikidPad file and began to type up some of the notes that were accumulating in my writing notebook. I sketched out characters and locations, developed mythical mythologies and pantheons. The plot bunnies that had been cavorting about my brain started to get corralled into an outline. The outline went through multiple iterations, as I attempted to decide whether I would use a multiple or single POV for the story. It seemed to cry out for single POV—it was truly the story of this one god—but I worried that it would be too slight in that form. I planned out a beefier multi-POV version, but it didn’t feel right. I settled on the single POV and wrote up a scene plan.
And so novel 7 was born on June 17, 2014, when I created the draft 1 file. It started that day with a modest 1k, but it quickly grew under my fingers. By the end of June 2014, it was almost 15k strong. It lived and breathed, begging to be developed. I wrote like a madwoman that July, spurred on by unemployment and loneliness in part, but mostly answering that siren’s call of creation. And on August 11, 2014, that first draft rested complete at barely 41k words.
Well, that wouldn’t do at all. It was novel 7, not novella 7! I let it rest while I turned my attentions to a doomed #PitchWars bid for novel 6. Eventually, I came back. I re-read, made notes. I wrote a new scene plan. On October 8, 2014, I started a second draft. It was difficult but rewarding to find the areas to tease out more story, to fill in some of the gaps my initial rush had missed. The second draft came to rest on December 13, 2014 at close to 58k.
Still, I knew it wasn’t enough. I went back through, armed with post-it notes and a dazzling array of colored pens. I sought critiques and beta readers. I vowed that I would do justice to this story that resonated through me. I wrestled with every scene, contemplated adding entire new storylines, and eventually settled on to a final version of novel 7. It was about 63k words.
I sent out the first query on February 2, 2015. I overhauled my query countless times. I worked on a synopsis, which I actually liked. I overhauled the query again. I queried more, and more, and more. I racked up rejections and non-responses, moped about it, and sent out more queries. I sent my 96th and last query on August 7, 2015. Overall, I had 2 partial requests (1 form rejected, 1 never heard from again) and 1 full request (polite rejection). Not the greatest track record. It was time to admit defeat.
I can’t say for sure what it was that did in novel 7. I did not receive a lot of personalized responses from the professionals, and the beta readers seemed to love it. I suspect it was the length, which at 63k for adult fantasy is LOW. I knew that going in, but I had told the story I wanted to tell. I still think it is the best piece I have ever written. (Disappointing, in fact, to know that novel 8 is so much worse and wonder if I peaked with an unpublishable novel.) Perhaps someday it will find a home, but for now, the coffin is closed and the nails driven. RIP, novel 7.