So here’s a quick-and-dirty account of my progress so far:
Like a lot of people, I started writing fiction in high school and by the time I was seventeen. I’d produced 60k of a bad, untitled YA thing. Okay, it wasn’t all bad—it’s how I learned how to think about character and voice, but more importantly, it’s how I learned to type. At this point, I certainly wasn’t considering publication and was very clear in my own mind that this was a “practice novel.”
Then I went to college and produced 40k of a bad, untitled YA thing. (I’m seeing a pattern here.) I also regarded this one as a practice novel. It was characterized by imaginative, lyrical prose, relatively functional characterization, and absolutely no plot.
Post-college, I decided that some discipline was in order and I wrote On Earth, a contemporary fantasy with demons and no real target audience. But it was 110k of polished manuscript and I wrote a query letter and a synopsis, and between the revising and the preparation and the research, it officially took the story out of practice-mode and into real/live aspirations-mode.
Now I’m working on draft 1.5 of a contemporary YA fantasy with gritty litfic overtones. Think Tithe meets Under the Wolf, Under the Dog? There must be something wrong with me, because I’m already starting to look forward to the query process again.
On-going projects include the preliminary stages of a YA paranormal romance, and a sequel to On Earth. Lately, I’ve been trying to come up with a strategy to make the sequel a stand-alone, because honestly, I’m ridiculously taken with my demons-in-rural-Oklahoma storyline and would love to pursue it, regardless of the On Earth situation.