Notes from my…

Notes from my agent:

re: new story, "Oceans Bright and Wide"

"I think that this is a terrific set of revisions and I would have you do nothing more to it." [big sigh of relief]

re: the book overall

"I'll look forward to hearing from you on Monday. Please send the book as one file and your bio and publishing history as another. Even without the war story (and I can see it requiring some serious research), I think that this is a very potent piece of work."

I am alternately terrified and hugely excited. When I send it to him Monday, he'll start showing it to editors. I have an immense desire to hold on to it longer, to draft that other story, to keep tweaking the full manuscript. If I keep it, if I don't send it out, then it can't be rejected. If I didn't have this academic deadline pushing me to try to get it published soon, I could easily hang on to it for a long long time.

I didn't expect it would be so scary, letting go.

Oh, and I'm thinking of changing the order. Again. Switching it from a strict chronological to a family-oriented chronological. Which would give a much stronger narrative thread at the start, less disjointed for the reader, and would look like this:

The Chelliahs

  • Oceans Bright and Wide (Colombo, 1939, Chelliah)
  • The Princess in the Forest (Chicago, 1955: Chelliah)
  • Other Cities (Chicago, 1962: Chelliah)
  • Acts of Faith (Chicago, 1963: Chelliah)
  • Marry in Haste (Chicago, 1964: Chelliah)
  • Pieces of the Heart (Chicago, 1966: Chelliah)
  • Lakshmi's Diary (Chicago, 1969: Chelliah / Vallipuram)

The Vallipurams

  • Seven Cups of Water (Jaffna, 1948: Vallipuram)
  • Sister Mary (Colombo, 1949: Vallipuram)
  • A Gentle Man (Massachusetts, 1979: Vallipuram)
  • The Emigrant (Colombo, 1979: Vallipuram)
  • The Shining World (Colombo, 1983: Vallipuram)
  • Mangoes with Chili (San Francisco, 1983: Vallipuram)
  • Tightness in the Chest (Vermont, 1984: Vallipuram)

The Children

  • Mint in Your Throat (San Francisco, 1990: Chelliah)
  • Challah (Philadelphia, 1998: Chelliah / Vallipuram)
  • Bodies in Motion (Chicago, 1999: Chelliah)
  • Minal in Winter (Chicago, 1999: Vallipuram)
  • Wood, Stone, and Flesh (Berkeley, 1999: Chelliah)

Across the Waters

  • Monsoon Day (Colombo, 2002: Vallipuram)
(Not sure about the 3rd and 4th section titles -- suggestions welcome)

2 thoughts on “Notes from my…”

  1. a structural question – will you be telling the reader the dates before each story? i.e. something like a page with “1939”, then the story?

    Or will the reader have to learn the date from the story?

    In looking at your revised order the dates fall into place and into some patterns (groupings around the same time etc) – recalling the stories I have read (albeit in drafts) I don’t recall getting a firm sense of the exact date.

    Just a quick thought – congrats!


  2. I think right now, we’re planning on telling them the initial date and time at the beginning of each story. That helps with the narrative flow, I think. I’ve reconsidered the rearrange, though — I think I’m leaving it as is…

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