Muse Warrior, In Serial Form
If you know me well, you know that I wrote a young adult book, on and off, for several years while the girls were growing up. This book grew and grew, from a spark of an idea to a thing that I pursued with a passion that waxed and waned. My writing journey for this particular project took me to seminars and conferences, writing groups, online workshops, meetings with editors and agents, querying and submitting, and a few near-misses of interest from people and publishers that I really, really wanted to give my little book a home (and possibly room for its subsequent siblings, additional books in a planned series).
Throughout the process, I was inspired or deflated, depending on the task. I loved the creation process, even the days in which I wondered about my own mental health because it felt as though my characters were so real, I could almost hear them telling me what to write. I loved meeting people and sharing my work; at the risk of sounding pretentious or braggy (and I truly don’t mean to), I always felt as though my words were well-received. Fellow workshoppers were uncharacteristically kind with their feedback, many asking for more pages to read. I loved the process of learning from industry experts, agents, editors, influencers and prolific authors. I never felt like a total newbie, and I never felt as though I didn’t belong at these fabulous conferences, whether in LA or New York.
But even when I had a great rapport with an agent or editor, I would often feel skewered by the cold, hard truth that my book was really not what they were looking for; perhaps it was simply the wrong book for the moment, or they were really searching for the “next big thing,” or they needed “issue” books to drive readers toward diversity and acceptance within the current political climate. But the worst feedback was this: “although the writing is strong, we aren’t taking mythology books right now.”
Because my book is mythological.
It’s about muses and Roman gods and Italy and high school and moving far from your home and death and love and living and magic.
Since I finished the book in 2014, I have rewritten it several times, based on feedback and notes from friends, writers, agents, editors and the current tastes of the YA publishing world: present tense, snappy dialogue, 500 pages or less, short chapters, take out adverbs, take out extraneous characters, this subplot doesn’t make sense, why is his hair purple?, what’s with this line?, is the Italian correct?
Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
But now, in the interest of clearing out old habits so that new opportunities can arise, I have gone back to my favorite draft and found that it retains a sort of magic of its own. Maybe it’s not the next big thing and it may be too long to be packaged and promoted on a shelf at Barnes & Noble, but it sounds like something I wrote, and I would love to share it, finally.
So, dear ones, here’s my announcement and promise: I will begin sharing my book like a serial, one chapter each week. Because the book was always tentatively titled Muse Warrior, let’s call these installments “Muse Mondays.” A further challenge to myself is to publish the whole shebang on Kindle at the end of this exercise. Maybe I’ll get inspired to write the second book, too.