Changing Gears

I finished editing my portal fantasy manuscript Thursday, quickly working through the last few pages in between an outing to the art museum with a friend and packing to visit my sister this weekend. My brother has been reading the manuscript for a week or so at this point, and I’ve been discussing with friends what project I should tackle next. And yet it still hasn’t really sunk that my second draft is done. Even yesterday, I had this nagging feeling: I should probably get home from my sister’s with enough time to edit 1,200 words in the evening.

With the edits done, I’ve been able to carve out some writing time to attend to my alt history novel I’ve been shopping around, which I’ve been sadly neglecting. My spreadsheet where I keep track of who I’ve sent it to when—and when to expect responses—had gotten weedy, and there were some online agent listings I’d been meaning to follow up on.

But shopping manuscripts is a long, slow process, so the bigger question on my mind is what project I should work on next. My brother has been texting me outrageous factoids and historical quotes from his doctoral research on Italian opera and Gothic literature, and I’ve been feeling kind of homesick for the steampunk world my brother and I developed with another friend. There’s a whole novel outline we worked up full of kidnapped debutantes, enchanted opera gowns, and dastardly fashion designers just waiting to be drafted, with characters we’ve written and loved for a dozen years now.

I also have a middle-grade series burning a whole in my pocket since I last visited my Army brother in Europe. They had recently gotten a dog that their children dote on terribly, and somehow we started making up this whole backstory that their dog is really an Italian spy who busts up illegal catnip rings and hunts down international mob bosses. I started writing a first chapter on the plane home from visiting them, and since I sent it to my nieces, they’ve repeatedly asked me to write more.

Like every good aspiring writer, I’ve also been mulling over a retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with my sister. With everything from Bridget Jones’s Diary to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to the dragon-riding Heart Stone, the world clearly isn’t suffering from a lack of Austen fan fiction. But, let’s be honest: it would just be so doggone fun.

Realistically, and probably responsibly, however, I think the best plan will be to revise the pirate fantasy novel I drafted last year with my sister. I haven’t touched the manuscript in six months, so the first order of business will be to reread the book from beginning to end. Since I only wrote half of the book, too, it will be helpful to get a feel for the manuscript as a continuous whole. I thoroughly enjoyed drafting the book, so I’m looking forward to diving back in.

I also want to celebrate finishing my edits on my portal fantasy, though, so I’ve got homemade tirmisu on my to-do list, and I’m taking myself to see Verdi’s La Traviata this Friday. Should be a good week.

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