Rachel Neumeier

Fantasy and Young Adult Fantasy Author

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A little hiatus; or, switching horses in midstream

So, just sent the first six chapters — 145 pp — of KERI to my RH editor, Michelle Frey. We arranged to have her look at a partial manuscript just to make sure she thinks this current project, which she last saw in a three-pages-and-proposal form, is looking good to her. She says she will get back to me with her reaction by mid-June (which I do not regard as a hard deadline, but it would be nice to hear by then).

And you know what? I’m finding it pretty inhibiting to not know whether she’ll give me a thumb’s-up or thumb’s-down for KERI.*

So, since I don’t want to work on that right this minute, and since I made a reasonable amount of progress in May and feel fairly unconcerned about the deadline**, I have moved over to the OTHER story which I have in mind for Random House, which btw I think I have a title for (amazingly enough). I am inclined to call this one THE WHITE ROAD OF THE MOON. What do you all think about that? Yes, no, maybe? I should post a few pages of it in a day or so, but I’m at the wrong computer right this moment.

Anyway, my goal is actually to have about 150 pp of that one ready by the time Michelle gets back to me about KERI. That way the conversation can go in only one of two ways:

a) Michelle: “KERI is lovely, but I’m afraid that because of [insert reason here] it doesn’t really seem like quite what I have in mind for this imprint.”***

Me: “Well, that’s too bad, but here, take a look at this other manuscript, which I am pretty sure I could also finish by September.”

b) Michelle: “I love KERI! It is perfect in every way!”

Me: “That’s great! I’m so glad to hear it! Also, here, take a look at this other manuscript and see what you think about it for next year.”

Both of these options are acceptable, though of course I would strongly prefer Option (b).

WHITE ROAD is moving along beautifully, and I already had part of it sitting there, so I think I can pull this off.

* Michelle has turned down three of my books that are now on the shelf from other publishers: the first Griffin Mage book and HOUSE OF SHADOWS, both of which she felt were adult rather than YA (and you’ll notice both were published as adult); and BLACK DOG because she preferred to see high fantasy from me rather than paranormal. This was all fine, after all it all worked out anyway, but you can see why I don’t take for granted that she’ll love KERI.

** Fairly unconcerned does not mean totally unconcerned. If I don’t hear back from Michelle by, say, the third week of June, I will have to start moving forward with KERI regardless of how I feel about it.

*** I believe Editing 101 has a section on “How to sound sincerely flattering as you critique or reject one of your author’s manuscripts.” All editors I’ve ever interacted with seem really skilled at this.

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3 Comments A little hiatus; or, switching horses in midstream

  1. Craig

    What, nobody wants to give feedback on “THE WHITE ROAD OF THE MOON”? I think it’s a pretty good title, for what that’s worth — unfortunately, titles have to be really impressive (or, I suppose, really awful) to stand out much in my mind.

    Remember how you asked not long ago about reading more than one book at a time? I find the ability to switch from writing one book to writing a different one peculiar even to think about.

  2. Rachel

    I know a lot of titles seem forgettable, but I almost always think just using the main character’s name is a real cop-out.

    >I find the ability to switch from writing one book to writing a different one peculiar even >to think about.

    I know, right? But it’s not actually that unusual to be working on one book, get comments back from Caitlin about a different book, and then get copy edits back for a third book. So sometimes one does have to switch back and forth.

    I was really into KEHERA and wouldn’t have wanted to stop in the middle, but I’m not as engaged with KERI and it’s not much trouble to stop and start — as long as I don’t run myself into the deadline!

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