Moody Musings: Shopping My Novel. Again.

Isolated on white empty, half and full water glassesI feel a little down this week, or maybe I’m just being reflective. Perhaps it’s because the holidays are right around the corner, or because I’ve had a crappy few years filled with injury after injury. Being sidelined on my couch is good for writing but not so hot for the rest of my life. I know I’ll snap out of it. I always do.

Consequently, I’ve been thinking a lot about writing and concluded that it’s all about story. I know this is no great revelation and maybe it’s not so much a conclusion as an appreciation. As a writer I think about this all the time, whether I’m watching something on television, film, or reading a book. Stories fascinate me, like when you see something for the first time: your newborn baby, the Grand Canyon, a hummingbird… the awe, the wonderment, the thrill. I admire the imaginative minds that draw me into the story in the simplest of ways. How the writer found a story in an everyday situation and grabbed my emotions and tangled them into a knot and then either blew them up or slowly dragged me back to reality and sanity.

I saw two movies in the last several days: St. Vincent and Interstellar and realized that love is the theme I enjoy the most. Not necessarily a romance, but a love story. In St. Vincent it’s the love between a young boy and a cranky old guy next door who teaches him about life. I actually sobbed out loud at the end. Twice. In Interstellar it’s the love of a father and daughter. And I’m a little ticked off at writer and director Christopher Nolan, because he stole his theme from my first project as stated by one of my characters…

                 “There are fundamental forces of physics that bind the universe: electromagnetism, nuclear interactions, and gravity. But what binds us? Love. Love is powerful in small spaces, yet has profound effect on distance. Love defies time, outlasting both its source and its object. Love is faster than light, for light requires time in order to travel through space. But love reaches its object instantaneously. Love journeys forever into infinity.”

I’ll cut him some slack as I guess I’m not the first writer to embrace this theme. It really was a stellar movie, pun intended, and pretty much blew my mind. Being a die-hard science nerd, I totally embraced his depiction of black holes, worm holes, and the time-space continuum. I’d characterize it as “A Space Odyssey on Steroids.” It was a really wild ride. At one point I exclaimed loudly, “Holy Shit!” just as the movie went from ear-splitting noise to complete silence. Awk-ward…

Anyway, a few months back I announced that it was time to shop my newest project and I was girding my loins for the onslaught of expected rejection. Of course, then I was sentenced to three months of healing and rehab after rotator cuff surgery and I fell into a funk. It’s been six weeks and I’m finally able to type well enough to begin the process anew. Then I stumbled on a workshop titled “Publish Your Novel” at the Visual Arts Center where I’d just completed a workshop on Narrative. I was overjoyed! The instructor promised to hold your hand through the process, help you hone your pitch, synopsis, query letters. I quickly signed up, thrilled to have another set of objective eyes reviewing my cache of all of the above and felt a sense of relief at the approaching task.

I just received notification that the class was cancelled due to low interest and I plummeted back to earth. On my own. Again. I know. I’m whining. But sometimes the glass is full, sometimes it’s half empty and well, other times it’s dry as a desert. I just need to pull up my big girl pants (which keep getting bigger and bigger the longer I spend on this couch), fill up that glass with optimism and get the job done. I will.

So I’ll keep you posted this time. I’m thinking of trying a few Indie presses in addition to the usual cadre of literary agents. Wish me luck!


Author: Caryn McGill

Caryn is a former high school science teacher, school district administrator and adjunct college professor.

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