Rejection #4 showed up today. A very kind, polite form letter on 1/3 of a piece of paper.
I am starting to go through my manuscript ferociously in an attempt to cut down the word count without sacrificing voice or plot. It's 154,000 words. I know fantasy can get a little leeway on length, but this is too much for a first novel. Maybe I should have killed Rurak off--that would have cut out an entire subplot. I'm having a sneaking suspicion that rejections might be coming my way simply because of length. Or I'm paranoid. Could be both.
On a positive note, this is what I intended to write about today:
My dog, Sutter, is finally healed enough to resume long walks. The North Platte River bisects the town I live in and a concrete riverwalk follows it for about four miles. PArt of this loops around and connects to the park near my house and I usually walk the two mile loop daily. A large field and hill separate the loop from town, so once I leave the park, I can immerse myself in a tiny piece of wilderness. This is the wrong time of year for pelicans and I was not fortunate enough to see a great blue heron, but the Canadian geese were on the river and the mallards were sunning themselves on a sandbar and the mule deer watched us from a distance. They're familiar with us and know this particular dog won't chase them. Not for lack of wanting--Sutter would dearly love a romp like that--but because I won't let him.
I hunt deer. I like venison. But nature requires another kind of enjoyment as well. On the path I can stop and contemplate the grace of a deer's neck, the delicate legs, the wonder of a fawn. These things don't register when I'm looking through a scope.
The most wonderful part of walking Sutter long here is the simple solitude. I spend so much of my day with people--120 students, several other teachers, my husband, my daughter--that even a half an hour, stolen from the day on a patch of psedo-wilderness, is bliss.
From that walk, from the skirling calls of the geese and the brisk numbing wind on my face, I gather enough strength to come back and face another round of query letters, killing my darlings, and renewing my hope.