Which novel should I work on?

I have two novels that are mostly complete, but I can only focus on one for the purposes of querying literary agents. Which one do you think I should focus on first?



Washing off the Glue
Washing off the Glue is a modern coming-of-age story of art, madness, loss, and love.

Marie’s father left a note: Don’t go looking for me—-you’ll ruin the surprise. And Marie, still in her first year of high school, doesn’t blame him for leaving: Her mother—-with her hoarding and depression and gloom—-is insufferable. Marie longs to reconnect with her happy-go-lucky dad and spends the next ten years of her life looking for him.

But from Boston to San Francisco, from Internet searches to private investigators, to visits with far-flung relatives, the search gets her into trouble. First, there’s the problem of debt: Marie runs up massive credit card bills, believing that, if only she had enough money, she could reunite her family. Second, she’s dealing with constantly feeling euphoric one moment and suicidal the next.

As her artistic career blossoms and the trail to her father finally shows promise, Marie’s psychological challenges intensify. But when she finally finds her father—in a surprising state that could foreshadow her own future—-Marie faces the most challenging question of all: Now that she’s found him, does she actually want him in her life?

The Trick
The Trick is an upmarket vampire story of time, hunger, family, and love, told alternately from the male and female protagonist’s point of view.

Vincent, a faithful Catholic, is two hundred seventy-one years old, survives on the blood of living creatures, and can perform an amazing trick: he can reverse time–for fifteen minutes, anyway. Vincent is in a long, long quest for love and family, but each time he is foiled, until he meets Helen. He’s absolutely smitten; Helen is the woman he’s been looking for. There’s just one problem: she is aging and Vincent is not. Vincent refuses to turn her-—immortality comes with pain, and there’s her soul to consider.

As he remembers his past loves-—the revivalist Christian, the flapper, the ’70s boyfriend, and others-—Vincent realizes his love for Helen surpasses them all. In the end, it seems like compromise might win the day. Together they form a family and can reverse time farther than they ever imagined, but this time there’s a new problem: Helen is not the same person she was before, and this is not the life she wants for her human daughter. Can their love survive the merciless march of time?

Novel snippet

Another short snippet from my novel-in-progress, The Trick.

Small annoyances got under her skin and grew more obnoxious over time. Jake’s voice, once a soothing baritone, developed a scratchy rasp. The way that he ate food, slobbery and loud, started to madden her. His caramel and honey scent turned to bitter licorice, and the hazel of his eyes turned a puke-toned green. Not literally, of course, thought Helen. But that’s how things go over time, don’t they? They acquire qualities one never imagined on first meeting.

What do you think?

 

New short synopsis for my vampire novel

The Trick is an upmarket vampire story of time, hunger, love, and family, told alternately from the male and female protagonist’s point of view.

Vincent, a faithful Catholic, is two hundred seven-one years old, survives on the blood of living creatures, and can perform an amazing trick: he can reverse time—for fifteen minutes, anyway. Vincent is in a long, long quest for love and family, but each time he is foiled, until he meets Helen. He’s absolutely smitten; Helen is the woman he’s been looking for. There’s only one problem: Helen doesn’t want kids. She wants to be turned so that she could live forever with him, her true love, and children didn’t enter into her equation. At first Vincent refuses—there’s a painful cost to his form of mortality, and there’s also her soul to consider—but in the end, compromise wins the day. Together they form a family and can do more than they ever imagined.

What do you think?

I had a lot of fun with this novel. I definitely went rogue and deviated from vampire canon. I’m always looking for the loophole: Can a vampire have kids? Not in the traditional sense. Can a vampire be killed with poison? Yes! Does a vampire really lack a soul? The jury is still out. Can a vampire transfer powers? Maybe! Can a vampire turn back time? Yes!

Novel writing and the elusive third act

I am in the throes of novel writing.

I am working on the third act of The Trick, in which the heroine (Helen) goes a little baby-crazy, and her immortal vampire boyfriend must make a decision: start a family, or live without her.

I’m stuck because I don’t know how to write about baby-craziness. I never felt it myself. I have only witnessed it in others, and I fear turning it into a stereotype. Also, my novel is only at 48,000 words. It’s a wee bit too short.

In essence, I am stuck, with a fairly static third act. How do I make it as dynamic as the first two acts?

Act 1: They fall in love. Falling in love is fun to write about.
Act 2: They travel and enjoy the world. Vincent recalls previous girlfriends. Helen starts to worry about aging, and asks to be turned. They fight about it.
Act 3: Helen’s fear of aging and her desire for a family runs into conflict with Vincent’s non-human nature. Conflict is good but this act feels flat to me.

What do you think?

What kind of magic is this?

A snippet from my in-progress upmarket vampire story, The Trick

For a moment it all stopped and everything was silent. Helen listened for the tweet of a bird, the honk of traffic, or the chatter of a squirrel but heard only the sound of her own breathing. In the absence of external noise, the rhythmic beat of the pulse in her ear grew louder.

Helen marveled at the motionless tableaux. Gold and red autumn leaves were suspended in the air; a moth was caught in mid-flitter; even the feathery clouds, picking up the shine of the moon, had stopped moving. Helen touched a leaf hanging in mid-air and wondered, What kind of magic is this?