‘Labor’ Day Weekend, Indeed!
It seems like forever since I’ve had anything of importance to discuss in terms of my own creative adventures. I’ve not taken any new photos that I’ve deemed worthy of posting here. I haven’t sat down and written any poetry. I haven’t even had any sing-a-longs with my musical other half, Brian Sfinas. His guitar has spent a bit of time in her case and aside from his writing some lyrics, we haven’t hashed out any new duets. So what the hell have I been up to?
Work. Like the kind that pays my bills. Being introverted. Doing a lot of thinking. Missing the hell out of my parents lately.
But then I remembered, Oh shit! In a few more months, you’re going to be receiving a letter you wrote to yourself and there were some things you committed to doing by then. Namely, getting my first novel, The Place We Went To Yesterday in front of agents. I didn’t want to be unrealistic and expect that I’d have a publishing contract underway. That sort of stuff can take eons, if it happens at all for most new writers these days. But I did promise myself that I’d at least be getting my work in front of them.
And then, nothing. I was stuck.
I struggled to boil down 74,000 words into a one-page synopsis. I read blog upon blog about how to write the kind of query letter that agents notice. I sat in absolute terror. I had an email to my editor with the subject line “Query/Synopsis Review” sitting in draft form for weeks. Yesterday, right after I’d hit the send button, I leaned over the edge of my balcony and dry heaved. It’s becoming reality and the fear of failure left me paralyzed for months, just wasting time.
But now it’s time to kick that to the curb and get my ass in gear. So, that’s what I’ve spent this Labor Day Weekend doing. I wrote the damn synopsis and the query letter. I went through the novel over the last two days and did another round of edits. In the end, I’ve added over another thousand words.
If you’ve been dying to know what the book is actually about, here’s the draft synopsis:
ELLA SANTIA knows what resentment is. She was borne of it. The product of rape, she and her siblings are despised by their parents, but Ella takes the brunt of the anger in her Latino family. After a rumor spreads that she is gay, her parents beat her relentlessly. She escapes and is placed into foster care in Brooklyn.
In these new surroundings, she is unsure of how to handle herself. She is outside her element. In a real home for the first time and with a family that appears to be normal, she soon learns that ‘normal’ is all relative. When she discovers that SUSAN, her foster mother, is abusing her own daughter, ANNE, she decides to take her chances in a group home.
Despite her shy and introverted nature, she quickly befriends the enigmatic LARA. She is immediately taken under Lara’s wing and shown how to navigate the cliquish waters of the home. Lara and Ella spend their free time walking Manhattan’s High Line, dreaming about what their lives will be like when they are finally free to make their own choices.
After a vicious attack and a terrible misunderstanding, Ella is hospitalized and Lara as well as the instigator TAMARA are removed from the home. Though Ella has always known that her way out of the cycle of abuse and poverty is through education, she is now more determined than ever to make the progress she needs to make to accomplish her dreams.
With the help of MS. KOLE (the manager of the home), MS.JACKSON (a teacher) and the unwavering support of her TIA PAOLA, Ella takes her GED and SAT exams and begins tutoring other girls in the home. Her dreams of college become reality when she learns that Ms. Kole, Ms. Jackson and her social worker LINDA have registered her for her first class.
Now a high school graduate and college freshman, Ella is on her way to achieving the dreams she spent her life creating. She is no longer the shy, introverted girl that allowed herself to be the target of other people’s anger. She has grown into a leader.
I finished the outline for the sequel to The Place We Went To Yesterday.
Perhaps even more importantly, I started writing said sequel.