I sent out my first twenty pages to Muse yesterday and it left me feeling a little insecure. On Friday night I spent a lot of time thinking about this process and how stunned I am that I am even at the point of putting it out there - and how exhausting this editing process has been. But, I am about to be knocking at the door of the writer's club and hoping I will be let in so to speak.
After the conference - no matter what happens there, in terms of feed back or reception, I will begin the Summer of the Slush Pile. I cringe at the thought of it -but what else can be done? I do have some finish work to do on the rest of the ms - which I think I will get done over April vacation. After that - it is time to brace for rejection - and hope for a little luck. I also plan to work on my next story over the summer - which I am tumbling in my brain now.
One goal I do have for Alice in the next book is for her to discover her family history.
I created Alice Towne's family name from my husband's paternal grandmother's line - the Townes. This is taken from my own family's interests in the subject as well as that the Townes actually are descended from Rebecca (Towne) Nurse of the Salem witch trials. We were told a while back - but just recently we actually saw the genealogy ourselves- and it is her brother Jacob they are descended from. (Thanks for that btw). With this view of the genelogy we also discovered some bizarre coincidences that I had no idea of before - there was an Ariel Towne (male) and his great grand daughter was named Alice Towne.
I have a whole ficitional genealogy I wrote at the start of the novel tht shows Alice's line. In my story, Alice is the rationalist who doesn't believe in the family lore and her mother left the life behind for what she thought was security - and I ended up focusing on Alice coming to terms with her supernatural inclinations (through the ghost story element) and accepting her mother for who she is - but due to editing - did not end up including the genealogy. The two women, as far as Distillation is concerned, are removed from other family members and when a letter comes from an aunt at the end... well... we have a transition point and an opportunity to find out more about the family, find out things Josephine has either stopped talking about, never knew, or never told.
For the record, I am not actually writing about the real life people in my husband's family. And my mother recently asked me if I were going to ever write about Italian witches too - the strega. I don't know where it will go yet - but I have it all rattling around in my brain, and I also want to remain true to the "New England magic realism" genre I intended to write from the beginning.
By this I mean, unlike some other stories with "real" magic in them - my stories also leave room for doubt. There is more than one kind of magic in the world.
I have also been working on the glimpses into the history Alice uncovers in Distillation. This is the finish work I need to do over April vacation. They are not historically detailed chapters, but rather 500 word glimpses into specific moments adding context to what she uncovers - but with an ear toward fairy tales and poetry. The plan is to intersperse them throughout the novel's 30 odd chapters and combine each glimpse with one of the seven stages of the alchemical process of transmutation.
The plan, the plan, on with the plan.