Researching agents

I’ve finished editing and retyping the second draft of my upper middle grade fantasy novel, Moonrise Ink! I’m now waiting for feedback from a few first readers. In the meantime, I’m researching potential agents to query and putting together my query letter. Actually, I started doing that a while ago because I’m impatient, but I’m doing it some more. *gasp* Not sure when I’ll start sending out queries, but it won’t be long. I’m excited to have finally gotten to this stage, but also terrified. *gulp*

I’m also plotting and fleshing out a number of ideas for my next projects, though I’m not exactly sure what they’ll be. I’ve got a young adult sci-fi and several more middle grade fantasy ideas, along with a potential adult supernatural fantasy to be co-written with a friend.

I’m going back and forth between being excited to start a new project and being sick with nervousness over whether or not I’ll find an agent with Moonrise Ink. Or maybe that’s just allergies.

ETA: I forgot to mention, the final wordcount of my second draft came to 78,900 words. That’s down from 105,400 words. So I was able to shave 26,500 words away. 78,900 words is still long for a middle grade novel, but that’s honestly as compact as I could get it.

Retyping second draft of first novel

Last week, I finally finished my first round of edits for the second draft of my first novel, Moonrise Ink. I did it by printing out the first draft and editing it with a pen, making pen marks all over every page and crossing out as much as I could, trying to get my bloated wordcount down. So now I have to type it all back up. I’ve only been at it for two days, and seem to be retyping about 10K words a day, so I expect to be done by the end of this week, or early next week. (I can’t be certain until I finish retyping, but my rough estimate is that I’ve cut about 30K words from the draft. That’s from 105K words down to 75K words. 75K words is still long for a middle grade fantasy, but it might be the best I can do at this stage.)

Near the end of this month or early next month, I expect I’ll begin my great agent search. I’m looking forward to it. If I fail to get an agent, I’ll write another book and try again. No pressure.

Short excerpt from my novel

I’ve decided to post the first chapter of the novel I’ve been working on, Moonrise Ink, here on this blog for free. I hope to interest potential readers, and perhaps attract the attention of agents and publishers. I read on the Internets that agents and publishers are constantly scouring blogs for potential writers to publish because so many amazing writers are just too nervous to submit their work. So here it is, chapter one of Moonrise Ink! I think you will like it and want to read the whole thing when it gets professionally published!


by Sean Patrick Hannifin

Chapter 1: The Day of the Prophecy

Little did little Quoll know that he was the Chosen One, chosen to fulfill the mysterious prophecy.

It began in the Kingdom of Tumblebridge Ek’lirywin’tkt. There, the sky was a dark violet for a thousand years, when people suffered under the reign of the terrible King Uoook, who enslaved many men. His teeth were as sharp as the teeths of wolves, and covered in the blood of the animals he ate because he was evil. Some called him the Dark Lord, others called him the Dark One, and still others called him He Who’s Name Must Not Be Uttered. The people who were not enslaved were so afraid of him that they stayed in their homes at all times, coming out only in the dead of night to tend to their gardens and yardwork. How anybody managed to live through these dark and evil times nobody knows. The lands had been plagued by war and suffering before then. The plague of the Ravishing Sickness had left the lands as black as ash. When the grasses returned, legend had it that it was because the tears of the slaves had watered the lands back to a normal water saturation level. But most legends were dark and forbidden. The Dark Lord always had his way. Always. He had his way because he was the holder of the Black Sword of the Dark Moon. With this sword, he had control over the world. He only had to point his sword at the moon and moon power flowed into him so passionately, like music from the devils.

For a thousand years he ruled the lands, but then he fell. His power was broken by the most unlikeliest of creatures: an elf named Squiggley the Brave from the mysterious lands of H’kdk’burger. But how the elf defeated the dark lord remained a secret. And then it became legend, and then myth, and then a lie, and then a thought, and then it was almost nothing at all but a story lost in a book that nobody ever read.

But the elf died not a silent death. For on his death day, he uttered words nobody then understood. He said: “Let it be known to the world that I did not kill the Dark One. No. I only killed an incarnation. He will return. Heed my words! Heed them, I say! For the Dark One will rise again! And only one can defeat him. A young poor boy from a farm named . . .” But then he died before he said the name, leaving all those around him to speculate and guess at what his name might be.

Well, his name was Quoll. But Quoll didn’t know he was the Chosen One. For all he knew, he was just a normal boy on a farm who was poor and had to do farm work, day after day, until his hands were bloody with blisters and his body was tired with strain.

One day, Quoll was picking tomatos. That’s when the storms came.

Metaphorical storms, that is, for a knight with his stormish army came to the farm and asked for food.

“We have very little food,” Quoll said. “Only nine tomatos. But come in, rest, and I will share. For what else can we do in these dark times?” For the times had once again become really dark and sad.

“Thank you,” the knight said. “You are a very good boy to be so kind and to help us.” And so the knight and his army crowded into Quoll’s farm and ate their fill.

Quoll went upstairs to fetch his Papa. “Papa!” Quoll said. “Papa, an army is here and they are eating . . . PAPA NOOOO!!!”

But it was too late.

Papa was dead.

As dead as could be.

Quoll jumped onto his Papa and cried bitter tears. They dropped from his eyes like stones or like shards of glass. It was the blackest darkest day Quoll had ever experienced.

Who could have done this dark deed? Quoll’s eyes looked to the skies. He felt the need for revenge in his heart, and he knew his quest had only just begun. It was be a long quest, full of darkness and danger, but in the end he had to fight for what was right because that’s what was really important. And the price might be his life, but he would pay the price, because he had to, because it would be the right thing to do.

“Today I start my quest!” Quoll said, rising from his father’s corpse.

Meanwhile, down below on the first floor, something was happening. Something that would shape Quoll’s life in a way he would never expect.

It was the knight who had asked for a meal. This knight was called Hibble. Hibble sat there, eating a tomato, but inside his head were thoughts. Thoughts that could not be undone.

First he thought of the dark times, the times when the Dark One ruled the lands. Hibble knew the Dark One would return and that there was a prophecy. And know Hibble knew who the Chosen One was. It was Quoll. Hibble knew. He didn’t know how he knew. He could just feel it, like a shifting of the winds. There was a purity in Quoll, a purity that was a strength, a strength that was a promise, a promise that was a secret, a secret that was a key, a key to the truth of the prophecy.

As Quoll ran down the stair, half-crying, half-brave and noble, Hibble put a hand on his shoulder. “I think it is time for you to come with us. I think your journey is about to begin.”

“Yes,” Quoll said. “My Papa is dead anyway, so I have to.”

And so Quoll and Hibble and the rest of the army left the farm and journeyed into the dark shadows of the world.

End of Chapter 1

I don’t want to sound too proud, but I get goosebumps every time I read this opening chapter of mine! Thanks for reading!