Both figuratively and literally, the world of Andira is a very real place. Indeed, Andira owes much of its inspiration to places I have been. Below is a collection of photography, meant to evoke, at least in part, the beauty and magic of Andira.
I’ve spent the past couple of days changing the look of the site to more accurately reflect the combination of my writing aspirations and photographic amusements. As I transition to working on my second novel, Sins of the Father, and querying agents for The Darkness, I plan on expanding my online presence. The new look for the site is the first step. I’ll be adding a semi-regular photo-blog update (just to stretch my writing skills a bit), as well as offering quotes from, and insights into, my writing.
For now, thanks for visiting – and be sure to check back soon for new content!
The summer and fall of 2012 have been seasons of change for Andira, and especially for the debut novel of The Darkness. In early June, I had an agent request a complete copy of my manuscript. In mid-July, the agent officially passed on the project. However, the agent was kind enough to provide a trove of constructive criticism. Over the course of the past three months, I’ve completely reworked much of the introductory chapters to the novel and revised the rest of it to reflect those changes.
As a result, The Darkness is a much stronger, more coherent story than it was before. And it’s now ready for resubmission. Next up will be to compile a database of potential agents, then submit queries. The process should take a couple of months and I should know, by the end of January, if my revisions were sufficient – I happen to think they are, but then again, I’m hardly objective. ;-)
My current writing project, titled Sins of the Father, has crossed 22,000 words and 100 pages. Essentially, I’ve completed Act I (the first-third of the book). And I’ve discovered something … well, it’s more like I’ve come to a realization: I enjoy writing. The process of it. The challenge of staring at a blank screen and filling it with words that (hopefully!) mean something – to me, my characters, and perhaps one day, readers, is compelling. When you’ve got an idea, when you’ve spent some time fleshing that idea out with notes and character sketches and lots of daydreaming, it’s fun to see how it manifests itself in the context of a story – of a novel.
In many ways, it’s a bit like writing a unit plan and lesson plans and seeing how they play out in front of a class. When you bring a concept into reality, the result is never quite what you imagined it would be … but that’s kind of the point. I’m continually surprised at the directions my current story is taking … even when I have a pretty good idea of where it’s headed and how it’s going to end.
I really am enjoying the story, the characters – not to mention the tangible results. My goal is to finish the first draft by the end of the summer, at the very least. If so, I’ll have two manuscripts with which I can use to entice agents and publishers. ;-)
In the meantime, The Darkness, continues to make its rounds. I should get some definitive feedback just about the time I’m polishing off the first draft of Sins of the Father. Either way, this summer should be a busy one!
Nature vs. Nurture. Who are we, really? What do we do when confronted with the darker shadows of ourselves? Can we choose to go against our nature? Just what is our nature, anyway?
If you’re a clone, if the original copy of you is a ruthless drug lord, if you’re barely a teenager — if you are Matteo Alacrán, these are the questions that will dominate your thoughts.
It’s interesting how, even when there’s a lack of tangible progress toward getting published, progress continues to be made. After getting some feedback on The Darkness, I’ve begun one final, extensive revision (after which I’ll begin a large-scale query of literary agents). I’m also 9,000 words into a new teen novel, titled Sins of the Father. I’ve updated the official Andira Chronicles site to include descriptions of all works-in-progress. And I’ve started shaking the dust off my reviews over at dauntlessmedia.net. No, I haven’t gone back to episodic television. But I have begun writing reviews for many of the books I’ve read over the past year or so. And to make things a bit more official, I’ve redesigned the book review section of the site.
Last, but certainly not least, I’ve started a website for my critique group.
So yeah. No progress, but plenty of progress.
Let nothing stand in the way of … progress!
So I have this completed manuscript. I’ve spent the better part of a month revising it. Getting it ready to submit to agents. But for the first time since I started this story, I don’t have a clear notion of what, exactly, I ought to do next. The thing is, I’ve been lost in the fog of writer’s block. I’ve been stuck in the mire of “real life” intruding upon inspiration and motivation. But at least during those times I had something to work toward: a completed manuscript.
This is limbo.
I finally made it to my first SCBWI conference, here in NYC this past weekend …
To say that I’m at sensory overload at the moment is a bit of an understatement. After several panel discussions, three content-specific breakout sessions, an informal cocktail dinner, and meeting several fantastic pre-published (that’s for you, Lin Oliver) and already-published authors, I think it’s safe to say that it will be some time before I can process everything that has transpired.
I’m not ashamed to admit, either, that the scope of everything can be daunting at times.
But more than anything, I was struck by the community. As Lin Oliver said (to paraphrase), the boats all float higher when the water rises. SCBWI is the water. And for me to have been a small drop in the bucket was an honor.
The highlights included Chris Crutcher’s hilarious, and deeply moving, lecture about finding The Truth and writing about it, and Henry Winkler’s incredibly inspirational speech. I’d already seen (and met) Mr. Winkler at Books of Wonder the previous Wednesday … but the way he packaged and presented his personal story for SCBWI was incredibly uplifting and encouraging!
With respect to my own writing the bottom line is … I have a *lot* of work to do. Especially in terms of refining and revising my manuscript. More than ever, I am really confident about the story and my overall vision. But holy hell … I really need to do a lot more to allow that vision to come through for potential agents, editors and publishers.
At least I won’t be without something to do for the next few weeks!
Thanks again to everyone at SCBWI. And especially Kimberly Sabatini, who has a debut novel, Touching The Surface, scheduled for a September 4, 2012 release, and Jodi Moore, who has already published a picture book, titled When A Dragon Moves In, for taking me under their wings and helping me feel like I truly belong with the SCBWI family!
The first draft of The Darkness is complete. In fact, it’s been finished since about noon on on Friday, January 20.
I’ve had the weekend to reflect on the accomplishment – and it is an accomplishment to actually finish writing a novel. I’ve definitely taken the time to enjoy the experience. But I’ve been struck by a few things.
First off, there is the acknowledgment of who has helped me complete the journey. As solitary as is it can be to write, I find it more than likely that any writing project happens in collaboration with others – even if it’s through struggling and confronting the memory of time spent with someone else. Second, there is the horizon – the process of revising the original draft so that it’s coherent from start to finish; and the search for an agent and publisher.
Mostly, I cannot wait until I get to share my work with others – with those who are interested in seeing a work–in-progress, or those who’ve just heard so much about Andira over the years that it’ll be noteworthy to see what the heck it is I’ve been concocting in my writerly, mad-scientist laboratory.
Here’s to that horizon!
Wow … I didn’t expect to be here so soon. But this is it! The final chapter begins … today …
It’s hard to believe I’ve made it this far. What will I do with myself when I’m done?
Oh yeah … more revisions!