Brushing Off the Dust

Getting back to a long-shelved novel

In 2017, I thought I had completed my first science fiction novel, then titled The Artifacts of Dawn, and had even begun writing its sequel. After making sure it was thoroughly edited, I began the process of querying literary agents in the hopes of eventually landing a publishing contract.

As these things often go, I did not land an agent or a contract for that novel. I queried a total of eighty-three agencies and of the few who had taken the time to give me feedback, I was consistently told that my novel was too short to be marketable.

That was a lesson learned. Novels in the science fiction genre are expected to be at least 100,000 words long unless they are specifically targeted at young adult readers. My novel is aimed at a general audience, including young adults, but my main characters are all in their late twenties or older.

What I decided to do was merge the novel with the sequel I had begun writing. I never completed the sequel, but it was already over 60,000 words at the point I’d stopped working on it. Once I merged the two books together, I had a single novel over 134,000 words in length. I even gave it a new title that fit better with the expanded story, The Artifacts of Truth. Now it just needed an ending.

After that initial merge, I did a first round of editing to make the two novels fit more seamlessly together. However, since then I put the project on the backburner and turned my attention to other stories instead. Since then I’ve published two novels under a pen name and written over eighty articles that I’ve submitted to various publications on the Medium platform.

Now I am finally ready to blow the dust off this manuscript and give it another go. However, it’s been a couple of years since I spent any time with the story or characters, so I’ve decided it might be a worthwhile exercise to retype the entire piece as a way to reacquaint myself with the world again. I’ll also do some editing along the way, and hopefully when I get to where I left off, I’ll be inspired to continue and give the novel the ending it deserves.

Once I’ve completed the merged manuscript, it will require a few more rounds of editing and beta reading before I try to query literary agents again. If I still cannot stir the interest of an agent, then I will self-publish instead. I’ve put too much time and effort into this story for it to languish unread. If I do self-publish, it may not reach as wide of an audience as I’d hope, but at least it will be read, and hopefully enjoyed. In the end, that’s what matters most.

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