Saturday, November 22, 2014

News About Cottleston Pie

"Wait to announce your weapons until after you've fired them."
This idea is quite appropriate for me when it comes to writing stories. I am a visionary. I get excited over a story, I start writing the story, and I get so terribly caught up in the delight of new words and characters and places that I announce the story. And then I realize that I was ill-prepared to tackle the task in the time in which I said I would do it, and I go off to crash and burn. This is why I've never participated in NaNo (National Novel Writing Month). If November was not the month cram-jammed with family birthdays and occasions, I would probably be tempted yearly. But I know myself well enough at this point to know that I could not promise (or fulfill the promise) to write that much every single day without losing sanity or writing cheap prose for the sake of a word count.
"I can't help flying up on the wings of anticipation. It's as glorious as sailing through a sunset...almost pays for the thud."
-Anne of Green Gables, The Continuing Story
A little while ago I announced that I was writing a Christmas story, tentatively titled: Ring the Belles. It was meant to be finished in time to be given to a family member for a Christmas present. As I wrote, I realized that the story was not working in the era in which it was set...the tone is autobiographical and thus a bit too rollicking for the Regency Era setting. As I discussed this issue with fellow author Meghan Gorecki, she suggested I move the story to a different continent, where a slack tone of unconcealed dryness, wit, and raillery would not be unacceptable. I could keep my era, keep my plot, and keep the tone with this solution. Unfortunately, the idea of packing up the entirely 10k words and rewriting them on a new continent overwhelmed me. I had only a few days before my brother's wedding and I could not stomach the idea. So I shut down Ring the Belles till after the wedding. When I came back to writing this week, I was just not feeling a Christmas story. I did not feel much like writing at all, so I sat on my bed and did a few quick pen/watercolor sketches of the main characters in Cottleston Pie.


I don't know why they were stuck in my head, but they were and as I drew them and looked at these characters who are so well known to me, I realized what I really felt like doing was finishing Cottleston Pie. The Christmas story can wait. I have added six or seven-thousand words this week and am running along merrily toward a wrap-up. I intend to pitch this book as a short-novel for Young Readers (ages 8-12). The finished length will be about 25,000 words, with the option to chop the book into single picture books if need be. 
The deal is this: I do not want to publish Cottleston Pie on my own. It needs illustrations. It needs people who know what they are doing. People have said that I should illustrate the books myself, but I know nothing of illustration. I can draw, but I am unskilled in knowing how to transfer that into a digital form and transfer that into a layout and print it and anything else of that nature. This book is not for the indie-published. Of course down the road if I cannot find a publisher to take Cottleston Pie, I will probably do it myself, but I hope to be able to find a company that will publish these stories. They have a wider appeal than some things I plan to write, and I do think they could become beloved. I will be querying traditional publishing houses as soon as I have finished the first draft. I really hope something comes from this.
There is one publishing house especially that I would love to take doesn't help to know that almost nobody gets their book taken by the first house to whom they pitch it. All the same...this company sounds amazing. I'll definitely be following their projects even if mine isn't among them.

So maybe I'm announcing yet another weapon before I've fired it (LIPSTICK TASER!) but I decided I'd tell you now: I'm looking for a big-girl publisher for Cottleston Pie. Proceed as usual.

So the King gave Simpian his pen-knife and told him that, yes, he could have the pen-knife and yes, it was sharp, but no, he was not allowed to hurt anyone with it and if he did that yes, the King would have Words with him. What Words? Stern ones, and holy Moly, my boy, it was a foolish person who would volunteer himself to hear Stern Words from a King of his callipiller, so Simpian had better not try or he’d see what was what. And a peck of pears with green olives.
Whatever that meant.


Clara said...

Oh, I'm so thrilled for this, Rachel! Can't possibly wait to read it. :)

Emily Chapman said...

Now THIS is spectacular news! ^.^ I cannot wait to read COTTLESTON PIE!

Joy said...

I am very, very excited about this bit of news, Rachel!! Hurrah :)

Emily Ann Putzke said...

So awesome!! I'm excited for this!!

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

I so understand the bit about announcing things too soon. That's one we have to learn by experience. I'm often bursting to talk about a new idea, but hold back now because I never know exactly when it'll come to fruition.

And can I just say that I love your Cottleston Pie excerpts? It's kind of like Nesbit and Milne and you all rolled together and it's entirely adorable. I'll never be able to write for children like that.

Abby said...

How exciting! I can't wait to read it. :) Hope you can get it to the publishing company you want!

Rachel Heffington said...

Girls: thank you so much for your enthusiasm and excitement. Keeps inspiration burning when I know I have readers eager to see my win.
Elisabeth: I have enjoyed what children's stories I have seen snippets of that have your name on them. And there are so many different styles for children...I can't write a bit like Natalie Savage Carlson or Lois Lowry but if any of those others you mentioned have rubbed off on me, I am past pleased. <3
Abby: why thank you! I hope I do too...