The Story of a Novel

Thanks so much to all of you who’ve liked the page: your support is truly appreciated. I want to give you all a brief update as to where I’m at in the process

I initially finished writing this novel two years ago: at least I thought I finished writing this novel two years ago. Upon the novel’s first completion, I handed it over to an editor at the University of Victoria for whom I have the utmost respect. Upon reading it, she encouraged me to do a re-write as she liked the themes and the style, but found the type of narrative I chose to be hard to access.

For the next several months, I rewrote, adding about 40000 words in the process. Upon finishing the novel for the second time, I was approached by a colleague at the publishing house I was working for at the time about pitching the novel to an agent. She was even kind enough to suggest several such agencies to me.

I put all of my eggs in one basket (as per usual) choosing only one: I sent off the first three chapter, along with the synopsis I posted yesterday and proceeded to bite my nails for a week until I got an email from the agent requesting the entire novel. it was then that I peed my pants.

I was close. I waited for another six months: I wasn’t sure if I should be elated or crestfallen. And then, one day, I got the response I’d been waiting for for oh, so long. It was a gushing rejection, I slipped into a depression.

For a while, I gave up on the novel. I refused to speak about it to anyone including myself. I was encouraged by some to burn the thing and I almost did. I am now glad I wasn’t so eager to spill kerosene on those pages.

This year has seen a revival of interest in Milk and Honey. It started off when my dear friend, Price Morgan, earned a Governor General Grant to adapt one of the novel’s chapters into a short animated film. We have been tossing ideas around as to what this will ultimately look like, and I trust that he will do an amazing job of it: he always does.

I then proceeded to post the entire thing up on my blog and send it out to the Twitterverse hoping for any kind of response it might receive. I have been overwhelmed by its pre-published and pre-edited Internet success.

Already, this novel has gone viral: I have received hits from the entire European Union, most of Asia, South America and Australia. While I’d like to think it’s because the writing is strong (parts of it, indeed, are) a more likely reason is the power of social media.

Still, I want to see what will ultimately be the third rewritten incarnation of Milk and Honey in print. I will not rest until it is so.

So allow me to tell you what’s happening now. A dear friend has volunteered to read the novel and be unrelenting in it’s appraisal. If any one of you feel compelled to do the same, I would be honoured. I have long abandoned the notion that literature is a solitary thing: it is a collaborative process.

In the meantime, I am going to set to work splicing portions of my half completed memoir into the draft at the recommendation of an agent who assures me she is waiting to see wha hopfully will be the last of a long line of drafts.

I want to thank you all again for helping me in the many ways you have helped me and this novel over the past five years (and more). I could not have done it without you.




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One Response to The Story of a Novel

  1. Andrea Jereb says:

    I’M SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS!!!!! also, you totally typed this on your iphone didn’t you? I want a copy of the whole thing (the novel) as is so I can read it!!! Good timing too because I just finished reading everything Camryn has on her shelves… Except Twilight. Save me.

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