I submitted Insignia to Angry Robot's open door publishing event. This event was for people who don't have an agent or who aren't published already. I can still submit it to other things but if I get accepted somewhere else, or get an agent, then I'd have to withdraw I think.
I really feel like there should be fireworks or a dancing bear at this point, so I am putting one in below.
Now on to the hard stuff. I'm feeling pretty apprehensive that terrified that it's going to get automatically rejected b/c of the teenage character since they said they don't want YA stories. However, I don't really feel like my novel is YA because it doesn't have many of the elements of YA. Like: No love triangles and no sparkly vampires. In all seriousness though...it's grittier and fouler than a lot of YA novels that I've read and there are other main adult characters plus an overarching theme of revolution and terrorism which is probably more adult than teens can handle? On the other hand, the biggest theme is the growth and development of the main character who is a teenager and his teenage friends.
Anyway, this blog post wasn't specifically about whether Insignia is young adult or not...that may be the subject of a further post after I do extensive research.The main point of this post was: "YAY! I submitted a thing!" and "OH shit! I might get published but PROBABLY will just get a rejection letter, so don't get your hopes up, Lyndsie." Yeah, you're probably right....this will just be the first submission for this novel and I will have to try again and again.
That being said, I have learned a lot in this process and I thought I'd share some of it here. It will likely be interspersed with my insecurities and doubts, put-downs, and agony over how I'm still not good enough at writing to claim to be a writer. Which seems like a good place to start.....
Insignia - The Saga
I began writing this novel for NANOWRIMO 2012 after reading Neuromancer and becoming frustrated that the world was so cool, but the characters were lacking. Case was a whiny, drugged-out hacker lowlife who was neither likable nor especially unlikable. Molly Millions was a razorgirl, who should have been an undeniably badass cyborg chick that would slice the shit out of anyone who crossed her, but ended up getting in trouble in essentially her first job in the book and needing to be rescued by that burnout, Case.
I wanted more. I wanted to learn more about these people - the guy who was addicted to drugs who could hook his brain into a computer, the chick who had her eyes replaced with mirrored lenses and razorblades under her fingernails. I also wanted a slightly more relatedable world. Some of the technology was almost too obscure or inexplicable for me to follow (Which I find is the case with many 70s/80s sci-fi).
However, I liked the gritty, dirty world. The criminal- and assassin- main characters. I liked the odd juxtaposition of 80s tech with futuristic tech. The depiction of file folders manifested in a physical form. The idea that your brain could go somewhere that your body couldn't.....so I wrote Insignia, focusing a bit more on character development and at the same time adding social commentary about the evils of consumerism and the hope revolution brings (think Star Wars!).
Then, life happened at the beginning of 2013. My marriage exploded, I moved out, got divorced, lost my job...and while I had *won* NANOWRIMO by writing the requisite 50k words, I hadn't finished the novel. It would take me another year+ to actually complete it. "Winning" NANOWRIMO 2013 again with another 50k. Novel still was not finished. NANOWRIMO 2014 was the year when I actually completed the novel, which sat around 103k at that time.
It took me yet another year, NANOWRIMO 2015, to edit that sucker, adding another 14k of content in the process, re-writing the prologue, brutally hacking it apart, only to rebuild it from its ashes better, stronger. Then...I left it to sit for two years.
I did this for a variety of reasons. The one I would tell people is that I was busy with my job, the SCA, home-ownership...but the one I didn't admit, even to myself, for the longest time was that I was self-conscious. I didn't think my writing was worth anything. I thought that only non-writers liked my stuff because they couldn't see all the holes and flaws in it that I could see. That publishers would see. That would cause me to never get published.
I let my novel linger in "near-finalized limbo" for so long. I could tell myself, "Yeah! I am a writer! I wrote a novel! I edited that novel! I did what many, many writers can't do! Go me!" I could ride that wave of perceived success for.....eternity. Except for the fact that what I wanted, what I really, really wanted, was for people to read it. For people to love it, as I loved it.
That wasn't ever going to happen if I didn't do something with it. In 2015, a good friend put my novel on one of those sites where you can buy an informal-yet-physical copy of something. Seeing it in this fake-published state made me think "You know, maybe I can do this." Yet I still did nothing. I polished it up more. Thought about self-publishing. But still, did nothing.
Then, in October of this year, my friend Dana Wodke, a massage therapist and life coach, invited me to this writer's group. The goal of the group is to go from zero to book in a year. Very shortly after that I saw a post on Facebook from Carrie Vaughn, a friend and author, calling out this publishing event. Finally, Finally, I said to myself, "I. AM. GOING. TO. DO. THIS!"
So, I invested money in Scribophile, where you can get feedback from other authors. I perfected my first 2 chapters. I wrote and rewrote my 2-page summary. I thought critically about where the holes were and how I would fill them. I probably neglected James by staying up way too late on a school night writing and perfecting. I submitted the novel @ 6:30PM on 12/30/17. I got a confirmation email that it had been received. I had done it.
One thing that Scribophile taught me is that editing is endless. I could get critique on a piece of writing, fix it according to the critique, and then get critique that essentially wanted it to go back to the way it was. "Does this mean that my work will never be good enough?" I ask myself. Maybe. Though I've been really trying to ignore that voice. I can't please everyone.
I am probably not the next J.K. Rowling.
But, as long as some people like it. As long as I have an audience, whether that audience is hardcore sci-fi lovers or teen YA readers, then I will consider myself successful.
At this point, I am trying very hard to remain positive about this whole thing. It's very unlikely that I will get an acceptance this time. I mean, it's the very first time I've ever submitted anything. EVER. And I am not that lucky. I mean, even J.K. Rowling was rejected something like 100 times before getting picked up. However, I have taken the first step. And, to quote every obnoxious motivational meme:
So that was my first step.
Here's to 999 more!
Note: I have posted some resources for writers on the page of the same name within this blog. Feel free to visit it if you want to see what I have found helpful! Also, if you have any other good resources, let me know and I will add them!