October 8, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I've been tagged by Yahong Chi in her post The Next Big Thing (and by Katy Upperman in the comments section of her own post on the topic). So it's my turn to share the dirty detes about my WiP. If I said this doesn't make me feel like hiding under my bed, I'd be a big Liar McLiarton. But even though this terrifies me to no end, I'll do my best. Here goes...

What is the working title of your book?
Watch of Night
This title comes from a line in a Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem entitled "The Light of Stars" and it's all about the planet Mars (which is significant to my story). This isn't a one-shot, so the other titles come from the poem as well even though I know that publishers will likely change them if I'm lucky enough to actually get published. Still, I really love them.

Where did the idea come from? Who or what inspired you to write this book?
While en route back from a trip in the spring of 2011, I found an article in a newspaper in the Calgary airport. The title was: Would you go to Mars, knowing you'd (probably) never come back? The question was both fascinating and slightly terrifying, as was the article. So I set out to tell the story of a teen girl who has to deal with this very situation, and who really doesn't even get to make this decision for herself. How much would that suck? A lot, I'd wager.

What genre does your book fall under?
My story is YA and it is both science fiction and romance. (I feel like this last bit is important to mention because if you're expecting light sabres, droids, and aliens, you'll be sorely disappointed. Call it sci-fi lite, if you will.)

What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
A few actors spring quite readily to mind for certain characters. Oddly, I'm having a hard time picturing anybody in the role of my MC, Carina. Every actress of a certain age and hair/eye colour combination is just so plastic and too-perfect for how I imagine her. She's pretty, sure, but not in a "Don't hate me because I'm beautiful" kinda way. Well, and let's be honest. Do any of you really care what anybody besides the love interest looks like??? :P Didn't think so.

Galen (main squeeze) - Julian Morris (from Pretty Little Liars and Once Upon a Time as Prince Phillip; Freya (bestie) - Amy
Davidson (from the short-lived Eight Simple Rules...); Marek (crap disturber & friend) - Freddie Stroma (Cormac McLaggen in
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince); and Callum (brother) - Andrew Garfield (Spidey himself in the latest Spiderman reboot)
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Oh poo. I still don't know if I can boil down my whole story into one sentence. I know I should be able to by now, but I've only just figured out my query somewhat (the jury's still out on that, though). Here's the gist of the story in point form:

- Seventeen-year-old Carina's family is chosen by lottery to join a government-mandated mission to Mars
- She's just getting used to things in the Mars Prep Colony when her regimented life takes some unexpected turns
- While hiding a forbidden relationship she discovers that mission leaders also have big secrets that affect the mission
- Knowing what she does, will she stay and toe the line or escape before it's too late and the launch takes place?

There's more to it than just these points, but these are some of the main things I've mined from my current query.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
Well, first off I'd have to be God to answer that question definitively. And last time I checked I'm not. (Phewf!) Ideally, I'd love to get published traditionally, but I'm not opposed to self-publishing. I'm going to give querying agents and trying to go the traditional route a whirl before considering self-publishing more seriously. We'll see how that all goes.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I started writing in July 2011 and finished the first draft around April or May of this year. I did stop during November and December to work on a NaNo novel, and was away from home for most of March and got very little done on it. So it took me roughly 7 - 8 months to complete it. But, I should probably mention that I revise as I write, so there's no such thing as a true first draft for me. Revising what I wrote yesterday or last month helps me get into the groove today in my writing.

May we see an intro?
I originally had a chunk of my first page up here, but then chickened out. Here's what I'm willing to share:

The beginning of the end of my life arrives on the wings of an important announcement.

What other books would you compare this story to?
I'm not sure I can answer this question, because I don't think my story reminds me of anything in particular. For this reason (among others) I won't be including comp titles in my query. I guess there could be similarities drawn between it and Across the Universe by Beth Revis (space mission, MC not thrilled about it), and some aspects (hiding a forbidden relationship) might be similar to Matched by Ally Condie or Delirium by Lauren Oliver. But none of those really feel the same as my story in any real way. My critique partner and beta readers might say something altogether different, though.

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
It takes place in a pre-launch Colony in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica during the several months of darkness they experience annually. Scientists have been using Antarctica to conduct studies of Mars for decades now because it is the most similar landscape to that of Mars on Earth. Also, the love interest is something akin to a medical intern (traditional + naturopathic medicine). And there's kissing. For more things that might pique your interest see my story's 'Love List'.

Well, that's about it. It's hard to do my story justice in just these little snippets, but I think it's interesting. I guess I'll find out soon enough when I start querying this sucker. I'm supposed to tag some of you guys, but I think I'm one of the last ones to this particular party. That being said, if you haven't yet done The Next Big Thing, consider yourself tagged!

24 comments:

  1. I wish you every success, Jaime! I can see the comparison with ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, but also major differences. And if Beth Revis can get away with using a song lyric for titles, I don't see why any publisher would object to you using lines from a poem. Especially if they fit the book. Lines from the same poem can help lend a sense of unity to a series, I think.

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    1. Thanks, Colin. I feel like the snippet you saw (before I pulled it down and only left my first line) is not the best example of my writing. That's a little worrisome considering it's what agents will see when I send it off. As for the poem, I don't think it's an issue because I've seen titles taken from the works of Shakespeare and others. The three titles just all felt too perfect, as did the poem. Hey, you should give The Next Big Thing meme a whirl. :)

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    2. That snippet was pretty good... but if you think it can be better, then by all means, leave us waiting for the new-and-improved version! :) You're right that you want agents to see you at your best. And I'm sure you're not far from that point.

      As for doing The Next Big Thing... I thought about it, but I've said so much about my WIP already over the last year that most of you could probably write it yourselves! I need to get on and write the thing... which is where, hopefully, NaNoWriMo will help. :)

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  2. It sounds so good!
    I do hope it's the next big thing!
    Success to you!

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    1. Thanks, Juliana. :) I feel like 'The Next Big Thing' sounds a little flashy and over confident, but it would be kind of nice. Here's hoping it goes somewhere!

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  3. First, I love that you said this: "I'd be a big Liar McLiarton."

    Also, this sounds awesome. :)

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    1. Thank you, Liz. :) It's tough to make your story sound interesting without people actually sitting down and reading it so they can judge for themselves. I think that's why I found writing a query letter so difficult. I wish that our writing could just speak for itself, you know?

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    2. I totally agree. Completely. Also, I gave into your Twitter peer pressure last night and posted mine. :)

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  4. This sounds fascinating! I'm so glad you shared about your book, Jaime. I love the inspiration behind your title, and the Antarctica setting.

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    1. Thanks, Rebecca. :) It's kind of nerve-racking sharing this much about my story (as I'm sure you can imagine). I initially included a chunk from my first page, but I chickened out and only went with my first line. I noticed that's what you did too, so I gave myself permission to only go with that. :)

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  5. This sounds really fascinating and I cannot wait until you are published so I can read it! It sounds really exciting. Love that you took the title from the poem ;)

    (And Longfellow will be out of copyright I'd have thought, having died in 1882 so no worries there, but as you say, publishers often change these things anyway don't they!)

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    1. Thank you! It sure would be nice to get published. :) My sister sent me the poem because it was about Mars, and I couldn't believe how perfect it was and that I found three titles in it! I'm not worried about copyright issues, though.

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  6. The premise sounds really interesting! Good luck! I find writing a one-sentence summary to be hard too.

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    1. Thanks, Ghenet. :) It's just so difficult to boil your entire story down into a single sentence. It would end up being one seriously bad run-on sentence, that's for sure!

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  7. I like your inspiration for the book, with the Mars article. That is definitely a fascinating and terrifying question!

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    1. Space terrifies the heck out of me. I find it fascinating and beautiful and yet so, so scary. I can't even imagine setting out to colonize a new planet knowing the risks involved in doing so. O_O

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  8. Such a small peek at your story, but a good one! And I can honestly say that it only gets better after that first line :)

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    1. Thanks, Erin. :) It's hard conveying what it's all about in a blog post. You've had a good long look at the entire thing, so you know ALL OF THE details. (*snort*)

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  9. HOLY Sh** Jaime. I'd read that. If you need beta readers (I've read Beth's books, I'm a HUGE DUNE by Frank Herbert fan and I've read Matched), let me know.

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    1. Thanks, Rachel. :) I'd definitely say that it isn't as sci-fi as Frank Herbert's stuff, and it might be a little similar to Beth Revis' in some ways, but not entirely.

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  10. Sounds awesome! And I cast Andrew Garfield, too. ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Jessica. :) And Andrew Garfield is just the perfect lovable nerd/geek guy, isn't he?

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  11. Well, this concept is fantastic, and since there's plenty of romance, I'm definitely on-board. Oh, and I think your first sentence is PERFECTION! Best of luck with this, Jaime!

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  12. Ohh Jaime, your book sounds SO exciting! I can't wait to read it!

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