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The Next Big Thing – Work in Progress

Posted by kayholt on May 9, 2013 in editing, writing |

One of my favorite writers tagged me to post something for this blog-hop. I had to steal many moments to make it so, but I’ll do a lot of things for writers who can turn me on and scare the pants off me in the same short story.

By the way, if you’re not yet a fan of Sabrina Vourvoulias, you can remedy that by reading her novel, Ink. Then see what compelling mischief she’s planning by reading her Next Big Thing blog post.

Now, the Q&A.

1. What is the working title of your next book?

Gathering Meanders

2.Where did the idea come from for the book?

Originally, the idea was to write a murder mystery in which a bestselling cookbook author leaves his fortune to his small town’s least favorite pariah. However, as I developed the idea, I realized that I didn’t care for anything about the book except the main character and the setting. I have an unhappy time writing stuff I don’t love, so I kept tearing it down and rebuilding from different foundations and with different scraps from my personal graveyard of stories. Now I have something much more fun.

3.What genre does your book fall under?

It’s an adventure, but this novel shelves under what I call “Unadorned Literature.” It’s mainstream fiction within a contemporary setting; no magic, no starships or dystopias, no serial killers or zombies, no gunslingers, no gumshoes, and no ripped bodices.

4.What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Argh! I have a terrible time answering this sort of question because I barely watch any TV or movies. Neither of the main characters are 20-something blonde misses, so… How about Elena Campbell-Martinez to play the posh, bisexual chef and Elizabeth Peña the dauntless, arts-and-scientist?

5.What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

When two minor celebrities take their internet shows on tour, they clash with rivals, confront IRL trolls, and find they’ve both been keeping secrets.

6.Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I’ll query agents and publishers first – traditional and idie – but if it never sells that way, I’ll either self-publish it or cannibalize it for future fiction.

7.How long did/will it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Now that I have the plot outlined, the scenes sketched, and the characters fleshed, I’ve given myself until my next birthday to finish the zero draft. That’s about 100 days, which is longer than I’d like, but I’m so busy with my pays-the-bills work that I can’t finish any sooner unless I eschew sleep. With my beta readers’ feedback, my goal is to polish it and have it ready for submission by New Year’s Day, 2014. They’re busy people, too.

8.What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I want to, but I can’t directly compare this book to any other I’ve read. It’s certainly influenced by the ‘American Road Trip’ subgenre as a whole, including On the Road by Jack Kerouac and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson, among others. But while Gathering Meanders is an adult book as compared to most contemporary road trip titles, which seem to be written for a YA audience, it’s probably lighter-yet-soberer fare than the classics that paved the way for fiction in this vein.

Of course, books aren’t the only media influences for this book. There’s a little Thelma and Louise in Gathering Meanders, too.

9.Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The same things that usually inspire me to write anything: I hate boredom, and I love writing.

10.What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

Gathering Meanders is a story of two grown women having the time of their lives, with all the intense turns and slapstick detours that entails.

Tag other writers…

Sabrina tagged me and Shay Darrach for this blog hop at the same time, which I think is perfect because they both write complicated fiction that stirs me and holds me in that unsettled state for days.

Part of the fun of this project, though, is tagging writers we enjoy who haven’t already posted something for the Next Big Thing blog hop. I have an abundance of enjoyable writers in my life, but this wealth can make it a little difficult to choose only two. So I chose four.

I’ve worked with scores of writers to edit their short fiction for publication. It’s challenging, but usually fun. Recently, I had the extreme good fortune to edit novellas with four playful, canny writers who made my job delightful. I will happily work and play with them again in future, but for now, I recommend to you the authors of Winter Well.

Minerva Zimmerman, author of “Copper” in Winter Well and “Muffin Everlasting” in Growing Dread: Biopunk Visions, posted on Monday, May 13th.

M. Fenn, author of “To The Edges” in Winter Well and “So The Taino Call It” in Substitution Cipher, posted on Thursday, May 16th.

Marissa James, author of “The Second Wife” in Winter Well and “Ancestors Enthroned” in Daughters of Icarus posted on Monday, May 20th.

Anna Caro, author of “This Other World” in Winter Well and “Millie” in Outlaw Bodies, posted on Thursday, May 23rd.

Kelly Jennings, a friend and a wit, has also joined the Next Big Thing blog hop. In the not very distant past, she edited Menial with Shay Darrach and wrote Broken Slate. Kelly also has a story in The Other Half of the Sky.

Anthony Cardno, a rising writer and indie music lover, joined the blog hop on Thursday, May 23rd.

Day Al-Mohamed, history buff and charmer, posted on June 1st.

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