Jim C. Hines (jimhines) wrote,
Jim C. Hines

Looking Back

From time to time, someone will ask me how many books I've written. I'm embarassed to say I can't always remember. So I thought I'd take a few minutes to look back...

1. Untitled Fantasy Novel: Back in 1995-1996, I started writing pretty much the first fantasy story I had ever done. It was bad. Painfully bad. I was writing about a role-playing character named Nakor the Purple (yes, "Nakor" was stolen from Raymond Feist) in a fairly generic fantasy world. But I had fun writing it. For those of you who have read Goblin Hero, you might be interested to know that this book featured a pair of pixies named Pynne and Whoo.

2. Goldfish Dreams: After that first fantasy novel, I worked on short stories for a while. Then in grad school, I had to do a thesis for my Masters. Since I was concentrating in Creative Writing, a novel was acceptable. So I wrote a mainstream novel about a lot of the rape-related issues I had seen and experienced in my time as a crisis counselor. I finished the book in 1999, and it actually found a home at a small PoD press called Regal Crest Enterprises. It sold maybe 300 copies, and now lives on as a Fictionwise ebook. I think it's pretty darn good, and I wonder if it would have been more successful had I been patient and not rushed to go with such a small publisher. Collected 19 rejections on this one.

3. Foundling: I wrote this one in 2000 as a part of a novel dare. Novel dares are what us old fogies did before NaNoWriMo came along, only we didn't stop at 50,000 words. We aimed for the full 80K in one month. Since I was living in Nevada and didn't have too much of a social life, I actually pulled this off. It's set in present day Nevada, about a race who draws their magical strength from family ... to the point of killing family members if they overextend themselves. I love the premise, but the book needs a lot of work. This one earned 36 rejections.

4. Goblin Quest: You might have heard of this one? After I moved back to Michigan from Nevada, I sat down and did another novel dare. I wrote, revised, and finished this sucker in about six weeks at the end of 2000. That was the last time I wrote a book anywhere near that quickly. 33 rejections, give or take one (long story).

5. Hamadryad: I still like this premise. This was my NaNoWriMo book. It's another present-day fantasy about a hamadryad living in Michigan's upper peninsula. After taking a few years to focus on short fiction, this was supposed to be my breakout novel. I queried agents, got requests for the full manuscript, but never managed to sell it. JABberwocky (my current agency) was one of the agencies that took a closer look, then decided to pass. To this day, my agent makes faces at me when I talk about dusting this book off and trying again. But I may do it anyway, 'cause I liked it. I've got seven documented rejections, but I think my documentation is bad, because I know I queried more agents than that... Heck, there are 11 personalized query letters saved in my Hamadryad folder.

6. Goblin Hero: Originally titled Goblin Mage, I had started writing this book back in 2001, then gave up when the story turned out to be broken. After landing an agent through very odd circumstances, I went back and fixed this one over the course of 2005. My agent then sold both books to DAW in early 2006.

7. The Stepsister Scheme: I began talking about this idea back in 2004, but didn't actually start writing it until late 2005, I think. I'll be dedicating this one to my daughter. It was written after our house acquired one too many princess-themed items. Some of the Disney films aren't too bad, but when we started getting princess books, princess sheets, even princess wipes for the bathroom, it was too much. DAW bought this one in April of 2007.

8. Goblin War: It took about nine months for DAW to decide to buy Stepsister, and I didn't want to start on a sequel until I knew they wanted the first book. So over the course of 2006-2007, I went back and finished up the trilogy of Jig Dragonslayer. I knew I wanted to get the goblins out of their mountain, and I also wanted to revisit some issues from Goblin Quest. I'd say more, but I don't want to spoil anything for you :-)

9. The Mermaid's Madness: DAW did buy the first princess book, so I started in on the next around June of this 2007. I didn't know much about this one, except for a single scene I'd been thinking about for over a year. That scene didn't turn out anywhere near as impressive as I had hoped, once I got it down on the page, but it still provided the foundation for another fun fairy tale book. Mermaid required more rewrites than any book I had written to this date. I turned it in on my deadline date of August 1, 2008.

10. Red Hood's Revenge: Another contracted novel, and the third in the princess series. The first draft took me a long time to write, in part because I wasn't sure whether there would be more books in the series. (There will be at least one more as of April, 2009.) This one required two extra weeks, the first (and hopefully the last) time I had to ask for an extension on my deadline. This was turned in on August 15, 2009.

11. Untitled Fourth Princess Novel: Sold on proposal as Secret of the Snow Queen, though we're working on a better title. This is the fourth and possibly final book in the princess series.


I don't know if anyone else will actually care about this stuff, but I've been wanting to get it down so I could actually look back and figure out what was written when. I suspect Foundling will stay trunked forever. Hamadryad ... we'll see. I may give that one another shot eventually, once I'm a better writer. I want to do a few more princess books first though. (And I'll need to figure out how to persuade my agent not to come after me with a wiffle bat for daring to dust that manuscript off again :-)
Tags: writing
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