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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Countdown: 9: Third Submission

October 2008

Precisely one year after my previous submission, I submitted Perilous again. This company took email submissions and required the entire manuscript. I had spent the year removing POVs, getting down to three: Jaci (the MC), Ricky (the boy MC), and the villain. I was quite happy with the change, and felt certain that this time I would be offered a contract.

The company's website stated to expect a response within six months. I anxiously waited through the first three months. Well, as anxiously as I could. I kind of put writing on hold for a bit, since I was busy working full-time and trying to be a mom and wife in my spare time. Ha ha!

After six months I assumed I'd been rejected. I never received any notice, but that's how it sometimes is in the publishing world.

In May 2009, I quit my outside job and resumed my roll as a full-time mom. Within a week I had pulled open the book open. It had been eight months, and I decided I needed to make a drastic change with my novel. I'd been considering the change for some time, but now I realized, it wasn't quite publishable the way it was. It lacked some tension, something that would take the book to a new level of suspense and terror.

So I killed off a character. It was very, very hard to do. At one point, she had been the main character, but over time, I had many readers comment that she and another girl had very similar personalities and reactions. And she didn't have a very pivotal part.

Killing her had an immediate, intense affect. I worried that the book was no longer appropriate for young teens, but more for 14+. Kind of like making it a PG13 book now. Yet it made the action and tension that much more, for now the stakes were high. There was no longer any guarantee that any of the characters would live. It brought new life to the novel as I rewrote it without her.

This time I wouldn't wait a year. As soon as I finished these rewrites, I would submit again.

9 comments:

LMJ said...

Doesn't it feel though, like you killed part of yourself when you kill a character? Oh well...whatever it takes! I wish you good luck, and it's nice "hearing" from you. :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

It did feel like I killed part of myself. But it had to be done. The book is *so* much better for it!

Dominique said...

Wow. I've never actually bumped off a character before. Written them out, yes, but textually killed them, no. I'd be interested in hearing more about how it felt.

Vicky said...

Wow. I still don't have the guts for that. Right now I'm battling with making one of my heroes into a villain. It's gonna be hard.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

Dominique, I'd be happy to discuss that in more detail! Maybe my next post...whenver that is. (BTW, Mulan is one of my favorite movies too.)

Vicky--when you're looking at your ms, going, "it's either death or change..." you sometimes force yourself to do hard things!

Emailman said...

haha!! I always knew you had an evil streak, Tamara :) You're practically a murderer!

SB said...

reading this makes me think of the movie stranger than fiction...poor you.

David J. West said...

Hey Tamara, tagged you.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

:::gasp::: Kurt! I never thought of it that way! Hmmm...I guess it was kind of therapeutic. :)

It wasn't so bad, SB! Just a long road...years...but I've heard that's quite typical!

tagged me, huh? I'll have to go see what that's all about.

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