Julie Frost, SFF writer (agilebrit) wrote,
Julie Frost, SFF writer

So that happened.

As you may or may not know, I went to #SuperstarsWriting a couple of weeks ago. For Craft Day, I selected "Novel Beginnings," taught by Eric Flint (of whom you may have perhaps heard), and fired off the first section of the Thing I like to call "Hitman in Hell" to him for a personalized critique.

I was super nervous about this. I mean, the weirdo structure of the thing is not evident in those first 9000 words, but this is the Project of My Heart and no one wants to be told their baby is ugly even if it objectively is. But I wanted it to be the best it could be, because I JUST KNEW I'd end up self-pubbing it because no publisher would touch this thing with an eleven-foot pole, for a host of reasons.

It's too short. 46,000 words is about half a novel, realistically speaking. Strike 1.

It's got four first-person protags running around in it. Now, first-person protags are my bread and butter, and I am more than capable of sewing up a character arc in the space of 12,000 words or so. I do this all the time in short stories, right? But... this is a novel. So it's weird. Strike 2.

It's way too Christian for the secular market. We've got recognizably-Biblical angels and demons, Bible verses, and Jesus and God make cameo appearances. Plus the themes of faith, hope, love, and redemption, right there in plain sight, smacking you in the face. You know how we say that message fic sucks? Screw it, I wrote some anyway. Strike 3.

At the same time, it's too gritty for the Christian market. There's torture, mayhem, nudity, and lots of foul language. Remember me saying "My God, can this character say 'fuck' any more?" Yeah. A Christian publisher would recoil in horror from this thing. Strike 4.

I get to class, and Eric not only couldn't really tell me anything to improve in that opening, but he pulled me aside afterward and said that if I was interested in traditionally publishing it, he was interested in seeing the rest. Just to let him know that I know how niche and weird it is, I let him know about all of the above. He said he wanted to see it anyway.

So. I shipped it off, bracing for him to tell me, Nope, you're right, too niche and weird, good luck self-pubbing it.

But. Well. Life can surprise you sometimes.

Long and short? I just signed a contract with Ring of Fire Press. "Dark Day, Bright Hour" is scheduled to come out on June 1.

Tags: #superstarswriting, hitman in hell, sales!

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