Half a year ago, Valerie Comer presented me with a project about a generational anthology set in Montana. Since I'm a historical writer, she wondered if I wanted to try the lead-off 1908 novella. I've never written anything set in that era, but it's fascinated me for years, so I said, yes, I was very interested.
Her enthusiasm carried me forward although nothing was done until the week before Christmas when Tricia Goyer and Ocieanna Fleiss signed on. With all three of them being published authors, I was the only one required to write the first chapter of my novella to prove that I could, indeed, write.
I was already busy with the festive season and trying to finish my proposal elements for a separate anthology proposal set in 1860. Taking one project at a time, I finished my requirements for the 1860 one and sent it off to the team leader just a few days before the New Year.
The deadline for the proposal elements for my 1908 Montana anthology was Jan 9th. Yikes! I'd known about this project for months and yet I hadn't been able to get a clear picture of my characters or their goals and conflicts until that point. I've always maintained that I do my best plotting on the long drive to and from the city and on a late December day, an idea came to me and by the time we pulled into our farmyard an hour later, my novella outline was in place.
I won't go into details here because it could be changed before it's - hopefully - published. Once my chapter was written, I sent it to my team and then the fun began as their critques came back. Our self-imposed Jan 9th deadline came, but I was one critique short. Tricia realized that with all 3 of them critting at once, no one was looking at the final product and since she has the most books published among us, she became the last hurdle. By the time I received all the crits and made the appropriate changes, the consensus was that the the hero's pov was memorable, but my heroine's scene which starts the novella, was only okay.
With Val chomping at the bit - this project was her baby, after all - I took a few days to dwell on the beginning scene. Dare I say it took another trip to the city?
On Jan 14th, we drove our daughters to the airport. Yes, they'd been visiting and yes, I'd spent the days in my office as usual. It wasn't all bad on my part though, because they needed time with their dad and siblings, too and we had some great times alone and in the evenings. So after the girls flew off to Calgary and Vancouver, we began the hour's drive home and wouldn't you know it... I got an idea of how to fix my first scene. It meant rewriting a good portion of it, but I didn't have anything to lose.
It took a couple days and then I sent it off to Val. She made some observations - mainly in the continuity between the new scene and the hero's pov, but overall she liked it. I fixed it up and sent it off again. This time Ocieanna took a boo at it and came back with more observations and suggestions. Best of all, she really liked this new version compared to the last. Great - 2 hurdles down. Off it went to Tricia.
To say I was worried about Tricia's crit would be very true. I hestitated at the sight of it in my inbox with good reason. But her crit was sound. And yes, she liked this version much better than the original. Taking her observations and suggestions into consideration, I worked on my chapter. After several reads, I emailed it to the team.
Yesterday, Tricia submitted the proposal to Janet Grant since Janet represents both Tricia and Ocieanna. Hopefully, the next thing I'll read is that Janet submitted the proposal on our behalf.
The only part of the proposal that looked bare was the empty spot beneath my name where an agent's name would go. But since I put my writing career in God's hands all those years ago, I have faith that's the way it's supposed to be at this point.
And now... back to my other regularly scheduled projects.