I finally, finally, finally for reals this time, put the final edit to my urban fantasy fairy tale and started to query it to literary agents.
I promise, cross my heart, that I won’t touch it again until I’m asked to by a prospective agent or future editor for a publishing company.
We’ll see how long that lasts considering I was still adding new things to it as late as this past weekend even though I said it was complete over a month ago.
And now I’m starting on a new novel. One I handwrote the first draft for starting back in December of 2014.
And as I’m transcribing, I’m realizing I have forgotten all the research I did four years ago for this story, so it’s off to the public library to get books on the first transcontinental railroad, specifically the mountain segment known as the Pacific railroad.
The story takes place in the winter of 1869, the first winter after the Intercontinental railroad was finished (although this might change depending on my research).
I have the story written and could just transcribe it as it, but that’s not how I roll. The transcription part pf my editong process where I add a lot of detail to the story, fleshing out the characters, establishing the setting, and all that fun stuff.
The setting in this case, is the train, of course, but the train is traveling to the summit (an area known as Lone Tree Pass when the tracks were being laid), where there is the town of Sherman. Facts are important to me and I’m looking up things like the angle of the track’s grade, distance, type of locomotives used by Union Pacific Rail Road, the towns and other important landmarks along the way.
I’m not sure what genre it is. Fantasy, for sure, but is it a weird western because of the time period? Some of the train passengers are cowboys, sent to maintain a herd of cattle that is being transported on the train to restock a ranch near Omaha. Additionally, there’s an outlaw and a Pinkerton detective.
Except for the people and the time period it isn’t really a western though. They aren’t out riding horses, heading people off at the pass (even though there is a pass), or even Native Americans on the warpath. Maybe it’s a historical fantasy?
Without revealing too much, the story centers around the train getting stuck because of a terrible snow storm. It’s a bad winter and a lot of animals in the mountains are dying off, animals which serve as a food source for … something. Something that hungers and smells the cattle.
Maybe that would be the novel’s cover blurb, “Something hungers in the mountains…” Or even the title, “The Mountains Hunger.”
This, by the by, is a prequel to another novel I wrote featuring the same MC, a newspaper correspondent who is sort of a problem solver, righting social inequities, and battling robber barons sometimes via pen, other times via gun.
There’s nothing wrong with that novel, it’s not trunked, except it’s a zombie tale and I think that market it a little saturated, even if my zombies are of the voodoo-type. It was fun writing it because it takes place in New Orleans (and the swamps around the area) around the time of the first officially sanctioned Mardi Gras and my MC meets a few historic people including Marie Laveau.
OK, I’m back from the library. I was so quick I bet you didn’t even notice.
I picked up four books. Three are on the railroad and one is “The Complete Book of Mustang.”
The novel I finished and said I wouldn’t edit, has the MC driving a 1969 Mustang Mach 1 and I have the book to verify I got the details correct (or to change it to a different year).
Or just for my own self-interest because I love classic Mustangs.
Anyway, it’s time to do that research. I’d say writing is 90% research and 30% actual writing.
I know that’s 120%, but if athletes can claim to give 110%, I think we writers can claim 10% more.