Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A Medium Revision

About a year ago, I was working on a book I called No Man's Land. Here's the back cover blurb:

 Bull riding is a man's world, but June Spotted Elk is determined to make it her own. She's not about to let anyone tell her that girls don't ride bulls - especially not seasoned pro Travis Younkin. Sure, he claims he just wants to keep her safe by keeping her off the bulls, but June knows that he's more worried about her messing up his big comeback season than anything else. But what June doesn't know is how deep Travis's scars run, or how far he'll go to make sure no one else winds up on No Man's Land.

Good stuff, right? June had an introductory bit part in the novel that my agent actually signed me over (which I refer to as the Noseless Cowboy book), so there were a few reoccurring characters when she got her own book, including Kip.

Kip is . . . a unique figment of my imagination. She's a Lakota Indian, but a Holy Woman to the tribe. In other words, she's a psychic. A powerful one. But she's still a young woman in most of the books, with all the personality quirks a young woman has. In other words, she's not always in control of her power. Not only that, she's an albino. I liked Kip a whole lot, so she showed up in about five books I wrote. She was June's best friend.

My agent liked Kip, along with the Noseless Cowboy. After all, she signed me over their book. 

But here's the cold, hard truth for all you pre-published authors out there: Just because an agent likes something doesn't mean it's going to sell.

The Noseless Cowboy didn't even get out of the starting gates because of that whole noseless thing. And Kip? Kip is too . . . unique for publisher to take a chance on for an unpublished author. 

Four of the five books that feature Kip are on a shelf. June's book was the only one where she still popped up. No Man's Land has been out with editors for about seven months. I've gotten four rejections, and it's stuck in the slush pile a few other places. In other words, not much is happening. Blame the economy, the timing, the unpublishedness of the author (me) or . . .

Blame Kip.

My agent emailed me last Wednesday, asking me if I would be willing to try cutting Kip--and if I was, could I do it in two weeks, before her co-agents made a selling trip to NYC? My agent LOVES this book--she believes in No Man's Land and she believes in me. She really, truly believes that the perfect editor for this book--and me--is out there, but it might be easier to find said editor if there was no albino psychic Lakota Indian Holy Women in the mix.

So we spent a few days going back and for about what level of rewrite this would be. Cut the mysticism entirely? No, we decided. An element of the supernatural is too important to the book--and all my books. Kip just needed to be scaled back and toned down--and not albino. She needs to not be a busybody, but more hesitant, more reserved. Oh, and just in case we ever do sell the Noseless Cowboy book, she needs to have a different name. 

So, the next week and a half won't be a major rewrite. Just a medium.

Pun intended.


Morgan Mandel said...

Much success with the revision. I hope your agent likes it.

Morgan Mandel

lucylucia said...

I just think that must be so hard Sally - to re-write in the middle and make it match the tone. I know authors do it all the time, so it must not be too heinous to go back and write a different person. But somehow it makes me think that everything would read like "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies". And i don't care what people say about that book - it was HORRIBLE. You can see exactly where the "author" inserted his/her zombie awufulness. And I was super excited to read it, as I am no Jane Austen purist. okay...I'll stop my rant.

Sarah M. Anderson said...

Lucy, part of me loves a challenge. The other part of me is gnashing her teeth and pulling her hair out. It's kind of hard because I haven't even read this book in 8 months--and it's been 10 since I finished it. On the bright side, I'm rereading/rewriting now, and it's still a really good book! YAH! Someone out there wants to give it a home, I just know it!

Hannah @ The Nanner Republic said...

Wacka, wacka, wacka--I just got the pun.

Heather Snow said...

You know what's funny about this? The first time I read "My agent liked Kip, and the Noseless Cowboy", I actually thought I'd read "My agent KILLED Kip and the Noseless cowboy." Then I read the rest of the post and had to go back and realized I'd misread.

Or did I??? Hmmm...mystic... :)

Best of luck on the rewrites. I know you'll strike the right balance!