It occurred to me a few weeks ago that I’m not totally done with the world of The Keegans of Banner’s Edge.
That is, while I’m done querying it, there are elements of the story that I still really like and may well go back to in the future.
I’m working on one of those elements right now. Pearl is a secondary character with a pretty hefty subplot in that story. She first appeared in the second draft, was my beta’s favorite character, became my favorite character, and made an impression on other writing buddies.
Pearl begins as a slave–she’s lady’s maid to Mrs. Keegan, when the Keegans are living on a plantation in Barbados. When Mrs. Keegan dies suddenly, Pearl’s future is in limbo. She fears she’ll be sold. She hears a rumor that Mr. Keegan will return to his native England; Pearl has a desire to go to England, one that she has barely acknowledged. Ten years ago, her younger brother was sold to a British naval captain and Pearl wonders if Mr. Keegan will take her on as his girls’ nanny in exchange for taking her to Britain. Once in Britain, Pearl–who has been freed and is now being paid for her work–begins to navigate a new country with her new freedom and works hard to nanny the girls and to find her brother.
For me, Pearl snuck into draft two with a clear purpose and motivation. Her character developed in ways I didn’t plan, so it all came about organically. Whenever I got stuck on the main Keegan storyline, I would switch to a Pearl scene and it all flowed.
I had cut and pasted Pearl’s POV into a separate document two weeks ago, but started reading it this week and fiddling with it. It’s 93 pages right now–it might reach a 100, because there are transitions missing and spots that need to be fixed–but that’s not a full novel and since I’m working on the Vic/Nic story (I really need a title), I don’t want to get mired in another novel. So I think it’ll stay as a novella. I don’t want to unnecessarily stretch out Pearl’s story just to fill up another 50 to 100 pages, you know?
There isn’t much of a market for novellas. Is there? But I definitely want to put this out into the world. I’ve been reading more and more about self-publishing, just trying to educate myself, and I’ve read two short story/novella anthologies so far this year and have more on the to-be-read lit. So who knows? Pearl may be coming at you via self-pubbing, if I think there’s a better chance of it reaching even a small audience that way or if novellas by first-time published authors would be better received that way. The evil voice in my head would like to have something published sort of in the near future. We’ll have to see!
But, in the meantime, it’s back to both stories…