Everwhen is the working title for the manuscript I‘m currently writing. Well, re-writing actually, in huge swaths. Again.
Do not ask me how many drafts I‘ve written because I lost count somewhere around the 23rd attempt. Some people say I‘m stubborn. I‘m OK with that.
You might well wonder why I would even think myself capable of writing a novel when it‘s taken me so long just to get it STILL unpublished. In truth, it‘s a complicated network of reasons and an unorthodox path. I‘ve written parts of the Everwhen story in various different ways, never really feeling that I‘d hit the target I wanted.
It resulted in my not just rewriting the story, but in actually starting from page one, several times.
The First Everwhen
My first Everwhen manuscript was actually a screenplay title Dragon Pearl. It‘s how I landed my first literary agent. But it turned out that he didn‘t really have the right contacts (as he explained it to me) and he couldn‘t get my kind of story into production. As it happens, he‘s no longer working as a literary agent. I believe he may have returned to his acting career.
Everwhen Phase 2: MG novel
My next Everwhen manuscript was actually a complete departure from the screenplay I had written, sharing only in the notion that it involves dragons. Everything else was different and completely new, including the protagonist.
I started writing the manuscript as a single, recently divorced mom. My primary audience was my daughter, a young kid at the time who liked to read. It was an MG novel, a light-hearted adventure story for kids her age. I liked it, it was cute, but it didn‘t really feel right to me.
I’m not sure why the story wasn’t singing the way that I wanted it to sing. While entertaining, it felt to me that a very superficial layer of the story had reached the page. So I started all over again. Again.
The YA Everwhen (good grief)
I took a stab at another writing form, wondering if perhaps I should write for teens. I had never tried before, so I figured I would just give it a go. I once again started writing from page one. This manuscript turned out to be my weakest. I‘m not being remotely modest when I say: it was a disaster.
Keep in mind that through all of these manuscripts – a screenplay, an MG novel, and a YA novel – each manuscript form required several drafts – and years.
The NOW Everwhen
Now I‘m onto the next manuscript form, one I started writing (beginning again from page one) after being diagnosed with cancer. At this stage and with this version of the storytelling, I’ve written it as a literary work for an adult readership. The manuscript is well over 400 pages and took me just under a year to write.
In October 2021, after my Mom and Dad laboriously sent me their feedback, chapter to chapter, I submitted the manuscript to my editor.
I wondered if it was a terrible, hot mess again (like the YA manuscript). I wondered if maybe I wasn’t much of a writer. I wondered if the chemotherapy had fried my brain and I was no longer capable of making any sense. I was swimming in doubts and I had to WAIT for her professional, editorial feedback.
That fall-to-winter of 2021 was a full on nail-biting time for me. Not only was I waiting for my editor’s notes, my cancer treatments were coming to a close (my last one was December 28, 2021). My husband and I were for the first time placing an offer on a house (which fell through), and Christmastime was coming fast.
Current Status of the Everwhen Manuscript
I just got the last draft of Everwhen back from my editor, Amy Koerner, and while her notes are invaluable to me, it means a fair amount of work is still to be done before I can submit it to my dream literary agent.
I‘m writing this story to be a stand alone work of brilliance (ahem), but I‘ve planned a much larger, epic series. So my hope is that my future literary agent will be able to land a multiple-book deal for me.
That said, I‘ve been told by many industry professionals that there are simply no guarantees. Their subtle message: just write a good book. (If you can!)
I know I can. I‘m almost there. It‘s seriously just *this close* to ready for an agent’s eyes.
The Plan for my Manuscript: Next Steps
Armed (heavily) with feedback from my editor, which includes a 22-page analysis (complete with bar graphs) in addition to the editorial notes she sprinkled throughout the manuscript, I am re-writing. Unlike my previous draft, which was truly a tip-to-toe rewrite, this will be more about clarifying specific details.
I believe perhaps two more chapters will be added to the manuscript before I‘m done here.
My plan now is to go through all of Amy‘s notes, one by one. Then I‘ll address the points she made in her report about my manuscript. After that, I‘ll have my husband read the revised manuscript. He‘s a sci-fi/fantasy aficionado. Next stop: my sister, who will check for the smallest details. After those tweaks, I‘m submitting it to my dream literary agent.
I might fail. I might find that what I think needs to be done won‘t be enough. If that happens, you‘ll be witness to that failure. You‘ll also be witness to my getting back to another rewrite.
Join me in this process!
Fly or fall, or simply fall again, I‘m doing this. I‘ve decided to do just whatever it takes and share with you what I‘m doing to reach my goals. Step-by-step and whatever, for Everwhen.