Lots of ponderings this morning after some initial feedback from my agent. I always knew I Am Wolf was a tricky one. The premise is interesting, there are big themes there and the relationships complex. I like those layers, and in many ways I was testing myself with this one. I think that has come across, but I always knew Amy was difficult, and while I have attempted to make her more likeable, I worried she might be too cold and thus make it difficult for readers to truly root for her. And they must. There is a place in literature for the complex female protagonist and many have done it well, as my agent points out, look at characters like Sarah Lund. But I was not so sure I had found enough of Amy’s vulnerability, and I always knew that might be a stumbling block. So while this is the initial reaction, and my agent is still reading so wants to send a more detailed response later, it’s one I can’t say was a surprise. I am not disappointed, more left pensive and wondering if I can do something with this. I love the challenge of this reaction to be honest, perhaps I’m weird but I find it quite exciting!
I think, as writers, we all feel the pressure of getting the next book out there, but for me, the journey has always been about learning my craft and I don’t want anything out there that isn’t ready. I want it to be the best it can be. There is an important lesson there. The need to run before we can walk, one of the reasons a lot of poorly written manuscripts are out there when they shouldn’t be. Who eats an undercooked cake?
So while I wanted a WOW I LOVE IT, my reaction shows me I was expecting this. And that’s okay. The plan was to send the latest works (plural) and to decide which should be the one we go with next; and all along I did wonder, if I Am Wolf had that it factor and when we initially talked about what I had, this was one we weren’t so sure about and I wondered if it needed development, and if the theme was big enough. So the plan will be to finish Isle of Pelicans and rest it, it will need more edits, while I decide if Colourblind is the one to work next or the instinct I have had for a while of writing something more British. I think you have to go with instincts — and some valuable guidance. This is where an agent is invaluable.
And I feel excited to see where we go next. I have this feeling that all obsessing this feels right, I know this has something compulsion I felt with WNOWW, is there and something is waiting to come out that has that same feel to it… I Am Wolf has elements of it, but it needs time I think. When I think about how many drafts of WNOWW I wrote and the time involved, I Am Wolf is really a baby.
This is process. And the lesson is to listen to instinct because the one thing my lovely agent says is stopping her having the connection she had to WNOWW, is the exact thing I have been working on and I knew. My instincts were right. Listen.
Have a wonderful day!