Posts Tagged ‘query’

Ideas for Making It Better

February 28, 2010

Wow, I have been inundated in recent days with ideas for making my MS #1 and my WIP even better. 

First, a confession.  I haven’t written a word all week.  After my trip to the YA section of the bookstore on Monday, I read two fabulous books this week — Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers and the heartbreakingly beautiful Shiver by Maggie Steifvater.  I’m resisting the urge to run run runout today to get the second book in the Steifvater series.  Oh, Sam and Grace!  The raw emotions of these two books are going to have me taking a second look at how Lex deals with her feelings.  I have to remember that 17-year-olds can’t always identify exactly what they’re feeling.  I like how both of these authors show that.  I know, I know:  show, don’t tell.  I think I finally get that where emotions are concerned.

Second, an update on my three-part strategy to distract myself from the fact that my manuscript is in the hands of a literary agent.  The three steps were (1) widening my circle of beta readers, (2) continuing the writing of Book II, and (3) getting comments on my query.

I have distributed my manuscript to three new readers so far; they are reading and promising to give me feedback.  One of the readers is a 17-year-old girl — who has been charged with making sure the voice of my narrator doesn’t sound like a (*ahem*) more mature woman in places. I’m really looking forward to their feedback and will take all comments seriously.  I have three more readers waiting in the wings for when those three are done.

I have not yet written any more of Book II, but I did make a major breakthrough.  I figured out why I had stalled on the project and had identified the vague but nagging sensation of dissatisfaction with it.  All of my favorite YA fiction — The Hunger Games & Catching Fire, Some Girls Are and Shiver — has taught me one very important thing:  my characters in Book II are not in enough agony.  I was so happy to (*spoiler*) reconcile Lex and Ash that I couldn’t bear for them to be unhappy in my first draft.  But happy=uninteresting, so I’m going to suck it up and make them miserable.  And yesterday, I finally had the big idea on how to do it.  Now I’m really excited to pick back up and insert the angst and worry and fear and…well, the world will just have to wait and see.

I haven’t yet posted my query — I need some technical help from my daughter, but I will finally post it on this blog.  Also, Melissa Garrett (@lisgarrett) had a very good idea to post some of her early writings on her blog.  Since I’ve been writing about Allyria for 25 years, I thought I’d do the same.  That will also appear here shortly.

So….I will continue to plug away!  The writing process continues to surprise and engage me, and I’m grateful for the whole experience.

MS is sent!

February 9, 2010

Well, I took the plunge — after cutting 8,000 words from my Allyria manuscript, going through four complete passes at reviewing, revising and editing (including eliminating unnecessary characters, giving up scenes that didn’t advance the plot, and eliminating pretty much all backstory), I have now submitted my manuscript to a literary agent.

Granted, she is someone I know well, and she asked for the whole thing, and she agreed to send me comments and tell me the truth about whether it is marketable.  I know she’s swamped and may not get to it for weeks or months.  So…I have a three-part strategy for distracting myself from my fears while I wait patiently for her response.

1)  I’m going to simultaneously widen my beta readers’ circle — I have friends who love to read, and who have been clamoring to read the manuscript for months.  I am going to print it out and have a few bound copies made.  They probably won’t be as critical as I need them to be, but it will make me feel good to share the story and characters I love with a few more people.

2)  Then there’s always Book II to write.  I am halfway done with the first draft, but I know with certainty after going through the edits of Book I that I will be eliminating a lot of what I’ve written.  Still, it will be glad to immerse myself once again in Allyria and see where my characters take me.

3)  Finally, I’ve developed a query and showed it to a few people.  I’m going to await the agent’s feedback before posting it here.

Feel free to wish me luck as I await the first real (aka from the publishing world) criticism of my manuscript.  I have received so much support already from past comments.  Thanks in advance for your thoughts.