Chapter Commentaries

Deleted Scene

What really happened to Tomas when he almost drowned as a child?

The First Revision

The First Draft Process – You know, I’d forgotten until I read this entry just what a pain the first draft of Vodnik (Lesana) was to write. I started composing with only a very generalized idea of the story in my head, and I sent it off to my writing group very early on, when I still only had a little actually down on paper. The problem with this approach is that I’d get six or seven opinions about what my book should be like. Since I didn’t have a firm vision, the book sloshed all over the place, getting three fairly substantial revisions partway through the process. Not in ideal formula for first draft success.

Outline of the Second Draft Process – I had firm plans on how the second draft would proceed. As I look back on them, I realize that each one of the steps I outline here is really a separate draft in and of itself. It’s the same process I’m going through now with my editor, four years later. Crazy.

Mid-Revision Frustrations – The second draft was just as rocky as the first, at times. It came during a hectic time in my life, and there were some rough patches. This post captures some of that turbulence.

Step One Almost Complete – Three months into what I’d planned as a one month process, I was about done with step one of three. And the book was no longer called Lesana. It was now a choice between “Vodnik” and “Vodniks Bite.”

Revision Complete – So instead of one month, it was approaching five. But in my defense, in that same stretch of time, I finished my Masters of Library Science, helped my wife write her thesis, applied to 50 jobs, accepted a job in Maine, bought a house there, moved to Maine, and started that job. Life sometimes gets in the way of writing – what can I say?

The Search for a Publisher

ABNA Entry – Amazon held their inaugural Breakthrough Novel Award Contest back in 2008, and I submitted Vodnik. I made it to the second round, which was pretty exciting at the time – especially since it involved getting a . . .

Publisher’s Weekly Review – Publisher’s Weekly had the crazy idea of reviewing all of the semi-finalists for the ABNA contest. Now, did they use their standard review process for this? I have no idea. But I still got a review out of it – one that seems fairly accurate to me, looking back at it. Seeing as how the book will have gone through at least three extremely substantial revisions between what PW looked at here for the ABNA contest and what you’ll all be seeing when Vodnik is published, I hope the book will have improved dramatically.

A Trip to Slovakia – Flew off to Slovakia in 2008, revisiting the country for the first time since I’d written Vodnik. A strange experience, seeing all the places that I’d written about. Pretty cool. Check out the pictures.

More Slovakia Pictures – Including one of the infamous well in the novel.

I Get Serious about Submitting – I never was the best person at actually submitting my work to agents and publishers. At the end of 2009, I got serious about it – decided to approach it more as a business and less as a lottery.

Publisher and Agent: Found!

I wrote up a whole six part piece on how this process worked for me.

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six