Should I Have Submitted?
I clicked on the link and read it.
My heart sped up and my tummy fluttered. Should I do it, or not? Would I still like myself if I did?
After all, I did have a complete story that was more than a first draft. And, they only wanted three chapters or 15,000 words. But…I’m part way to Revision Two, and I won’t finish my second revision for a long time. I wondered if I could complete revising before the end of September.
So, telling myself I was only doing it for experience, I decided to pull together what they wanted, a synopsis and either three chapters or 15,000 words.
And I began to learn things. Finding 15,000 words was easy. After all, my first twelve scenes were over 15,000 words. But, they were scenes, not chapters. In my writing, I’ve never given chapters much thought. So I asked around and got helpful answers like you will just know it because of the natural breaks or they have their own rhythm.
I’m chapter deaf.
After a lot of thinking and effort, I was really confused. Did my first scene stand alone as its own chapter, or did I combine it with some other scenes? And did I organize my chapters around a topic, or around a time frame? Could I have two POVs in the same chapter?
So, I struggled through to an answer. I would submit my first four scenes as three chapters, and hope they wouldn’t mind 6,000 words instead of 15,000.
But, this didn’t taste good.
After that, I needed a synopsis. A two page synopsis.
I wasn’t intimidated.
I already had scene synopses, but they led me into a ten page thicket where four POV story lines wrapped around each other and I could not sort them out.
I decided that, since my story is basically my MC’s character arc, I would use her scenes as the basis for my synopsis. And hacking it down to two pages went pretty quickly.
Then I read a sample synopsis, which I should have done first, and realized I needed a logline, thesis, cast of major characters, and approach.
Happily, I already have a 27 word logline and a thesis. So all I had to do was shrink my story summary down to one page.
I did all that and was pretty happy with it.
As I turned to those four scenes, I stared at my title. Over a year ago I changed my title to Scepter’s Sacrifice, and gave it no more thought.
When I typed my title onto that page where it stood, all alone, I felt cold.
How did Scepter’s Sacrifice connect with the first sentence, or first paragraph, or first scene to my story?
I went back and looked at my logline, and my thesis. I set my story in a fantasy world where a Native culture and a Colonial culture collide. And my main character and her villain / love interest must decide whether their peoples should join to form a new way, or fight to defend their ways of life.
That led me back to my MC. She is Native, in a political marriage with the Colonial leader. And she is proud of her heritage and, among other things, refuses to give up her way of dress.
Which led me to moccasins.
And my newest title…
Moccasins On A Marble Stair.
I wonder how long this one will last. Ha.
After all that, I still had to decide what to do about my four selected scenes.
They felt unfamiliar.
I hadn’t written them as well as I had remembered.
I’ve been revising for over a month. As it turns out, I’ve been working primarily in Part Three and the first half of Part Four. And, instead of working in scene order, I’ve been working with scene types.
I converted sixteen scenes from whatever they were to either Suspense or Dramatic. And I’d just finished polishing six Action scenes. But my first four scenes were First and three Dialog scenes.
And, while they read well enough, they weren’t as crisp or sharp as other scenes I’d revised.
And I was down to the last twenty-four hours.
Finally…I closed my eyes…and said no.