I thought about making a separate Works in Progress page, but I like the idea of a blog post so I can update my progress occasionally and followers can, well, follow along.
In Victorian London of 1879, a new device for the treatment of hysteria has just arrived from France. Dr. Julius Christopher plans to use the invention for his own salacious scheme. Can Dr. Nicholas Ramsay prevent his beloved, the virginal debutante Helena Phillips, from being the next patient?
This was my 2011 NaNoWriMo novel and is book one of a three-book series tentatively titled The Harwell Heirs (book two was last year’s NaNo novel and book three will be this year’s NaNo novel). The underlying premise, the use of the electro-mechanical vibrator as a modern treatment for “hysteria”, was based heavily on Rachel P. Maines‘ book The Technology of Orgasm: “Hysteria,” Vibrators and Women’s Sexual Satisfaction (Johns Hopkins University Press: 1999).
The manuscript is complete and I’ve submitted it to publishers and an agent, got some positive feedback from one publisher and, based on their notes, made some revisions. I’m continuing to pitch, query, submit, and revise.
I wrote this, my 2008 NaNoWriMo effort and first completed novel, basically without knowing anything about writing fiction except what I picked up as a reader. I made a lot of newbie errors, and, as I re-revise now I realize they run the gamut from acceptable to intolerable. The biggest issue is point of view (POV). There’s a lot of omniscient and multiple POV within the same scene, neither of which are necessarily bad if handled correctly by a skilled writer. In the hands of an unskilled writer these sorts of things can turn into distracting head hopping. Plus, these days the fashion, especially for romance and erotica, is Deep Third POV.
Since writing that book, I’ve read a lot in the romance genre, and taken a bunch of (free) writing classes including one this past (crap! past? passed? past!) week. I’ve learned an awful lot, so I’m taking the plunge and revising and plan (hope) to reissue the book later this year.
Why revise and not just accept that I made a mistake and move on? For one, I absolutely love my plot! I think it is a fun story and I would like others to read it, but enjoy it more fully when they read it. Plus, eventually I would like to write a sequel involving Clara’s brother back in Cirencester, so this revision process is helping me reacquaint myself with my characters.
The plot will basically be the same, although there is one particular scene that has always bothered me as far as clear motivation, so I will address that. Otherwise, I feel the plot, and maybe the dialogue, is the strength of the work. Oh, and the cover. I love my cover. I plan to only slightly alter the cover to distinguish the two versions.
What about the (dozens!) of people who have already bought the book? The plan is to offer the e-book for free and to expand the distribution channels (not just Amazon). I will probably stick with CreateSpace for the print version, but I won’t be able to offer the print version for free.
So if you’re thinking about buying General’s Wife, you might want to wait. I know, I know, I totally shouldn’t say something like this, but I’d rather have you read a much, much better version of General’s Wife! See below for how to stay connected about this project.
I have one that I will be editing before I submit it to an anthology. After that, I need to get back to novels. Shorts are a really different medium!