No luck last year interesting agents in my novel, Tiny House Big Mountain. To prove to myself, if to no one else (and with mixed results) that I’m not above accepting advice and criticism, I’ve both refused to farm out my MS to an editor but have also spent the last month gradually editing down my 110,000 words. Having a year between myself and the novel’s completion makes it easier to edit. I almost read it as written by someone else, and I’ve found lots to clean up. I’m half way through and I’ve already weeded out 5,000 words. That’s just a little here and there, page by page. I haven’t cut any passages but have removed redundancies (the same that I criticize in others); and have removed expository/narrative passages (anywhere from a couple sentences to a paragraph) that add nothing to the plot or momentum. I’ve begun to think that a reasonable goal might be to edit the novel down to that magic 100,000 words.
I’m also going to change my query letters insofar as plot description goes. I hadn’t wanted the novel to be treated as a YA novel, and so when I described the plot I put less emphasis on Cody, the 11 year old girl, than I might have. She is, though, largely the main character and the risk in not emphasizing her is to somewhat muddy the central thesis of the story. We’ll see if I’m right.
I’ve also started my next novel called Stopping by Autumn—a Romance. This time I want to more tightly integrate the poetry into the story’s narrative. The deceased mother of the main character has left behind poetry. I’m planning on twelve chapters headed by twelve poems. I asked myself what kind of poetry the deceased mother would write, and decided she had had a garden and was a fan of Emily Dickinson; and that she would write Hymn Meter in honor of her favorite poet. So, here is the first poem of the first chapter written in 8s,6s or Common Meter.
The Morning Glories may mistake Whatever wall they try And in their slow mistaking take A window for the sky. They press against the glass and reason They touch the celestial sphere (Above Earth’s evanescent season Divinity is near). How strange and unaccountable Is heaven to these flowers— My indoors unpronounceable And foreign to their hours. As if I were a deity They watch me come and go, Their guileless spontaneity More God-like than they know. These flowers searching the sidereal For something like perfection Might almost witness the ethereal Yet miss their own reflection. ~ Morning Glories January 2022
We had a snow storm move through. By Vermont’s standards, not so much—around six or seven inches. The foxes and owls are out. They can hear the rodents tunneling in the snow; and I’ve seen the owl pluck a rodent straight from its mid-field hideaway. Unlike the arctic fox or owl, our foxes and owls still sport their summer coats.
mid- winter's squall—the owl's unchanging gaze — January 19th 2022