I have received fantastic, incredible, terrifying, panic inducing news, via email. It seems that a project which I had considered dead in the water may have a life left in it after all. I queried a manuscript a while back and received many bites, but no takers. I had a few worthwhile suggestions in the midst, which I promptly applied and then waited. There is a certain agency with whom I hoped to find a home, and after about three months of a non response to a partial, I considered it a loss. The manuscript went into hibernation and I went on to pen another story that was wildly different in order to change my pace and have a break. Well, what do you know? After about six months, the partial requester came back with a positive response. She would like to see the manuscript. Voila! Joy, pain, sunshine and rain. It seems that what she liked in those first 3 chapters (thank hotmail for keeping every correspondence that I have sent out in a decade) was gone, kaput, rearranged until unrecognizable. What’s a little author gal to do? I have no idea. I figure, I’d better haul the story out of storage, dust it off and give it another read through. It’s been long enough that I want to be sure that I am sending out my best. Hey, what was my best a half year ago may not be all I can offer these days, right? Hopefully I have improved my craft. We shall see. So, my printer is printing (I do better work if I can touch it) my ink is depleting, my brain is smoking and my eyes are stinging. This just may be for all the cookies!
OK, that was not a good title for this post. I think that a better line would be something like, “The more I learn about writing the smaller the amount that I know appears.” Sadly, that was a long a boring title. I write to relieve the stories, but I never said that I write well. I mean, I hope that I write well, but I am learning that writing really is an art. It takes time. It takes tenacity and quite frankly, it takes a village. I live in a smallish town in the Midwest. There are no writers conferences within 100 miles of me. The support of human people (verses virtual people is slim pickings). However, the online community is an amazing resource to a new writer. Through a dear friend of mine, I was introduced to a romance writer (figuratively). Her name is Lucy Monroe and she is amazing. I am not a romantic. I’m not. I feel like I should be, but not so much for me. HOWEVER, Lucy is not just a romance writer. She, like everyone else, cannot be put into a box. She is an amazing writer and mentor as well. I am currently enrolled in an 11 week long online writing course taught by her and it is FREE. The other writers participating are wonderful, supportive, informative and fun. You can learn more about Lucy at her website Lucy Monroe Take a look. Take advantage of the online opportunities. You’ll learn so much more than you think, and it won’t even all be about writing.
I wrote my first manuscript a year ago. It was a YA number, and I still love lots of things about it. In fact, I may at some point return to doctor it up a bit. The thing is that it was my first, and we all know how that normally goes. With our firsts, we are passionate and frenzied. We can look and look at them and see no room for improvement because they are perfect. A year later and several months apart and it has all changed. I can see the problems now. I’m just too busy to get to it right away. You’ll see why.
My second manuscript followed quickly after the first. It was completely different than the first, though I had the same passion as I did with the first. The pages came pouring out of me. The story was telling itself. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get to my keyboard and see what would happen. (I didn’t have the discipline to pre-write and outline and work through the story first). I just had to answer the questions, What if? What if? What if?
My third (yep, but wait there’s more) novel was another YA this time a suspense. LOVED it too. I should mention at this point that I continue to love every manuscript more than the last. I should because I am learning. Statistically speaking, they are each bound to get better from experience. Also, as I write I am reading, researching learning.
My fourth and fifth novels were written in tandem. That is not a joke. IN TANDEM. One fantasy and one satire. How’s that for two ends of a spectrum. They are finished now as well.
So, I have written 5 novels each falling between 75-85,000 words. I feel as if I have gone completely insane with the onslaught of a sudden mental illness. Writing. 18 months ago, I had no interest in becoming a published author. I wrote when I did for different reasons. Today, I can’t stop. I pray for a day or two of writers block. My mind is plotting and scheming all day everyday. I even spent an hour at church on Wednesday night trying to determine how to kill a character.
Where has this all come from and now that I have allowed it a small opening, am I done for? Writers out there, do you feel the same way? Do your fingers ache to tell a tale, any tale, all the time? Mine do, and I love them all. It’s like the honeymoon phase with my husband (which also perseveres) I am giddy-happy-excited to write, BUT, and there’s always one of those, I worry that I may turn up on medication. The floodgate is now open.
How many times have I received a form rejection to my query? More than I will admit. How angry am I that I spent months perfecting the query and polishing the manuscript, only to receive a form letter, probably not even sent by the agent themselves? I’m not. I think that its silly to get angry. First off, we writers aren’t entitled to anything. I think that entitlement is the new mental disorder, soon to be added to the DSM IV. I’ll keep you posted on that.
Writers work on their one project. Agents wade through thousands of projects. How can they give each one special attention? If we were them, we’d do it the same way. By the way, those perfect query letters rarely are. If you doubt me, ask the Query Shark.
You can find her here: QUERYSHARK
Everyone using her site thought that they had a ringer too.
Also, researching the agents to contact should take much longer than most writers spend, I think. Finally…and this is my favorite part: Silence will be the form rejection of the future.
Huffington Post Article
Nathan Bransford also has an awesome blog that I recommend. Find him here: NATHAN BRANSFORD
So, for everyone who thinks that agents should do more than copy, paste, send…one day you will not even get that. The answer is to keep working, researching and writing. Every piece you write improves your skill. Every revision that you make improves your piece, and every article that you read improves your chances of getting your name on a hardcover one day.
SO, through absolute circumstance, and my inability to comprehend the complicated inner workings of Twitter, someone who I am not following showed up on my news thread. (Is that what is called there?) And they mentioned a contest on WOW. Turns out that WOW in this scenario stands for Women on Writing, and that is exactly what it is. There are contests, and classes, all judged and taught by professional writing women. The contests are held quarterly and are judged by a guest agent each quarter. (I know!) But wait, there’s more. There’s a blog, which to my great dismay and entertainment is called The Muffin. Yeah, but if you can stop giggling and read it, is very good. I love this website and I think that if you haven’t stopped by, you should. I’ll even help you find it here: THE MUFFIN
Love it! It’s delish.