Good but not Good Enough

Crusaders is the working title of my second novel. As currently planned with my agent and publisher, it will not be a serial continuation of the plot of So Shelly; however, it will share a setting and will include several of the minor characters from my first novel. The goal is to make the reader feel immediately at home when they recognize the environment and see a few familiar faces in the new novel. Should So Shelly be successful, a more direct sequel will be considered and is actually already partially written, but only time and sales will tell.

 Although it received a very enthusiastic endorsement from my agent as it is, I am currently giving Crusaders a complete overhaul. The revision process on this project has been quite extensive and challenging. I learned a great deal from my editor during the revision stage of completing So Shelly.  I feel that I have arrived at that stage with Crusaders, and  I am better prepared to complete it without the need of so much input from her.  Hopefully, by the time the manuscript lands on her desk this winter, it will be in a much more polished form than that in which the first novel was delivered.

 You might ask, “If your agent recognizes ‘hit potential’ [her words], why the revisionary overhaul?” The answer is that in my mind, as is, Crusaders is very good.  It would stand up quite nicely with the majority of YA novels currently on shelves.  My problem with it is that it is “very good,” but it’s not yet great, and it is too much like those other novels. It would be an interesting and entertaining read, but I don’t think it would cut deeply into the readers’ psyche, and if a book doesn’t do that, why write or read it?

 So, I am currently experimenting with the point-of-view, forming more rounded and idiosyncratic characters, turning some of the descriptive passages into action, and sharpening the thematic edges of Crusaders. If I’m successful, I truly believe it has potential to be a special book.  If I fail, it’s just a book. I’ll write another.