Another perspective on my work

A week and a half ago I discussed my manuscript with my friend N. N is a literary agent who does nonfiction. She also does editing for her agency. However, she reads hundreds of novels every year, mostly genre ones. She was curious about my second draft because she’d heard me kvetching about my novel for two years, so I gave it to her and hoped she wouldn’t vomit.

N had a lot of encouraging feedback and advised me to submit a later version of the manuscript to agents, though we still don’t know whether this manuscript is romance or science fiction. Right now, I’m leaning towards social science fiction because a lot of the plot explores societal issues. The novel wouldn’t work without the love story, but the manuscript doesn’t always have that in focus. We were trying to figure out comps, and N said Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash, which surprised me a lot. I don’t have cool transit modes or branding or conceptions of cyberspace. I guess both books are about the strangeness of capitalism, though.

N and John detected a lot of the same weaknesses in my manuscript. The ones they agree on make sense to me and are going to need some work. There were some things they didn’t agree on (some content on one scene, the length of another), which I found more interesting and less likely that I’d revise. I have a to-do list of things to fix, but I’m not entirely sure what the best way is to fix two of them. I also have a lot of prose to fix. Time to roll up my…I don’t have sleeves, it’s summer!

I’m also in the middle of a cross-country move, so my environment is chaos. I’m hoping to get settled in without too much more incident.

So much to read

I haven’t done any book reviews in a while. I think I just burned myself out a bit. Writing a full review takes a bunch of thought, and I was beginning to wonder where interests conflicted. I already do The SFRB Recommends, I told myself. Asking more of myself isn’t the best idea right now. From now on on this blog, I’m only going to review books I bought.

I went to Powell’s City of Books and bought a whole bunch of books to send to Boston, so I have something nice to look forward to after I move. These books are loaner copies. I want to introduce more people to science fiction with lots of feelings. They include Rachel Bach’s Paradox series, some Ann Aguirre Sirantha Jax books, Sharon Lynn Fisher’s Echo 8, and Linnea Sinclair’s Finders Keepers.