Satchel Paige once said, “Don’t look back: Something may be gaining on you.” For me these days, it’s more like, “Don’t look back: A pair of old manuscripts may still be sitting there waiting for you.”
With J.R. out the door and Pasta still making the rounds, I’ve recently turned my attention to Arbor, a middle grade novel that’s been in the works for about a dozen years. Half of that time, it existed only in my head, but that still leaves a long history of development on paper. I’ve been happy with Arbor for a long time, too, but parts of it still aren’t clicking with editors, so I’ve gone back and worked some more on the first few chapters, where I think the problem lies.
Then there’s James, a biography I began researching about five years ago. On Monday, I read four “final” drafts of considerably different tellings I’ve tried along the way in attempts to make the story resonate enough with editors for them to want to help me shape it further. The most recent draft, which I last touched a year ago, I like very much. Still, I may be on the verge of yet another approach to James’ story.
The thing is, I don’t mind. I feel like my writing has come a long way over the years, but I really want these old projects to come with me.
Hi Chris! So good to hear from you and congrats to you, too! Fantastic news about S.V.T. and I’m now dying to know what it stands for! As for having to turn down an offer when you get more than one, while it’s one of those “good problems” it is very very terrible! I hated it just as much as you — it was one of the hardest decisions I ever had to make! So glad to hear of your success and to meet up with a fellow SCBWI-conference go-er. All best!