It's been quite a week, and it's only half-over. First a potential five-day job gets cancelled, then I had to say goodbye to my cat, The Moosh. It hasn't all been bad news, however. For example, yesterday I finished my rewrite of Young Nostradamus and zipped it off to my agent. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and focusing my mind on the outcome I want - a third publishing contract with Llewellyn!
Now that YN is on its way, the time has come to revisit and rewrite my latest finished manuscript, The Right Hand of Evil. I finished it just under two months ago, and promised myself I would start the editing process in May. I've read many books on writing, my favourites of which are On Writing by Stephen King and The Right To Write by Julia Cameron. Stephen King suggests waiting a good three months before going back to revise a work, so that when you do revisit it the book will not be fresh in your mind. It will be slightly unfamiliar, like the work of someone else, and therefore easier to be a harsh critic. I could have waited three months, but I'm just naturally impatient. Plus, I feel certain that this book is really going to put me on the map. Epoch will do well, and Young Nostradamus will be a decent follow-up, but Hand is the book that will make me a household name. I am certain of it.
Why? I don't want to say just yet, not exactly. I don't like giving away big things too early on in the game. I will say this... as I was rewriting Epoch, I realized there is good potential for it to be controversial. I poke fun at fanatical religious beliefs, describing a family whose idea of a night at the movies involves not popcorn and soda but picket signs and righteous indignation. This gave me a good chuckle, but I thought for sure my editors would want me to cut that for fear of annoying people. Just the opposite - they told me to have at it, really cut loose. I gave them all I could without having the fun-poking take over the story, but it got me thinking - what if, for my next book, I really went for it? What if I picked a subject matter that would really take the controversy up to the next level and beyond?
I came up with an idea. I told my wife about it, told her I would use this idea as the basis for a YA novel. Her response? "Good luck with that." It did seem unlikely anyone would want to touch it, given the premise, but the idea would not leave my head. Thus, in September '06 I started writing, and now I am ready to rewrite. Wish me luck!
And yes, eventually I will reveal what it's all about. Tell you what - I'll spill the beans when I submit it to my agent. Fair enough?
- Timothy Carter