Thursday, 11 September 2008

And we're off...

I've finally started work on the second draft of 'The Poisoned Apple II' - OMG! Will you just think of a title already. I won't tell you the only title I've come up with so far as it elicited this response from my mother:

"You're not serious. Tell me you're not serious. That's ridiculous."

Anyway I am a mighty 141 words in and of course I am already obsessing about the opening paragraph. You see my as yet unsold/unagented/unanything first book in the series 'The Poisoned Apple' received the following response from a top agent (who turned the book down as it was too short - grr! my brevity):

You have a very quirky style of writing, it is fast-paced, funny and I love the opening line. (shame about the rest of the book - I added that bit)

Here is the opening line of the first book:

Lily Sunday's eleventh birthday could not have been a bigger washout if there had been a tidal wave or if a shark had broken through the viewing windows at the Atlantis Aquarium.

And here is the opening of the current WIP:

Grim Tidings is an unusual way to begin a letter unless you dislike the person to whom you are addressing it. Ignacious hated the Editor of the Corpsetithe Gazette. He would suck cockroach stew out of smelly socks before he would address the man with a Dear Sir.

It may take me a year just to complete the first chapter.

16 comments:

katey said...

Okay, those are two of the best opening lines I've ever, ever read, Cate. I love them, seriously.

Do you give lessons?

But on the titles... I'm terrible. Every title I ever come up with, I'm forced to consider a "working title" because it's so freaking awful. "The Poisoned Apple", on the other hand, is a great title!

Here's hoping this one reveals itself to you.

Catherine J Gardner said...

Cheers Katey, now I just have to fix the next 30,000 words. :)

I think I may have to send this one out as The Untitled Project - I'm seriously stumped.

Barry Napier said...

Um, yes yes, I say keep it. Wow, that IS quite quirky. It sounds like Neil Gaiman and Kurt Vonnegut had a bery quirky baby.

Catherine J Gardner said...

Ah, I love quirky. :)

Natalie L. Sin said...

I don't know about your mother, but mine is notoriously unreliable as a sounding board. She has been trying for my entire life to turn me into a lady and my writing career only reminds her that you can lead a horse to a frilly dress, but you can't make him wear it.

Jamie Eyberg said...

wonderful opening lines. I have a feeling that agent is shortsighted in the genius that is Catherine J. Gardner. On the other hand Theodore Geisel (Seuss) had his first book rejected by 27 publishers because it was too quirky.
Keep plugging away. Even if it takes two years.

Brenda said...

I agree, I love both openings...and I can't wait to read both stories!

Wendy Withers said...

Writing a good opening line is an art form! I don't think I've got it down quite yet, but your opening lines are awesome.

I'm happy, because I have the first draft of a new story down (it was the first part of a backstory for D&D) and am working on the second draft of a zombie short story I wrote. I also have another short story I'm about to start on, so I've been a lot more productive lately than I have in a long, long time.

K.C. Shaw said...

I love the opening lines to both! Honestly, don't change them!

Jeremy Kelly said...

Oooh, everyone's starting to talk about their novels! Exciting times!

Catherine J Gardner said...

Natalie - in this instance I believe my mother was right. In my heart I knew the title stunk.

Jamie - I think I've passed the 2 year mark already. :)

Brenda, Wendy & KC - Cheers.

Jeremy - we should all start a race. Loser buys the ale.

Carrie Harris said...

Why not hold a title contest? I had a friend do one of those; she sent out a very brief synopsis and let people send in their titles. I won a bottle of wine, which is too bad because I'm allergic to it, but I also got bragging rights, which is cool. :)

And hip hip hooray on starting your edits!

Catherine J Gardner said...

It may come to that Carrie - or I might do a 'Which of these do you like best?' contest...

Caryn Caldwell said...

I love those opening lines! Sorry about the rejection. I hope you're able to find a home for it soon. And good luck with the next book!

Mary said...

My YA novel has had a couple of rejections for being too short. So I’m interested you’ve had similar responses to your MG. What’s odd is that short MG and YA novels do exist, and some have been hugely successful.

The teens that read my little tome liked that it was shorter than many of the novels they’ve enjoyed but found too long. And some are completely turned off by anything with more than 250 pages. (Though mine is shorter than that.)

I don’t think you need to worry too much about your openings (easier said than done); they’re both great! :)

Catherine J Gardner said...

Thanks, Caryn.

Mary, the too short comment came from a UK agent but I can't recall (doesn't mean I haven't wiped it from a dusty corner of my brain) any of the US agents saying that. Wait for it, I'll get an email later today. My first book is the same length as an early Lemony Snicket, so I'm not too worried. Yet! Plus I have a back-up plan in that I may add my first and current second book together and then we'll have a lovely 60,000 words. We'll see.