Thursday, June 24, 2010

Agent Advice

I received an email from that agent who said she would take some time to offer me some extra advice. She listed a few reasons as to why my work was good, but not great. She thought my writing strong and characters interesting, so I don't need to worry about those major issues, there's just a few things I need to fix as a whole. I'm determined to tackle these problem areas and get the manuscript back to her. Whether or not she ends up being my agent or because of her help, I land someone else, there's no denying she's played a huge part in moving my career forward. So I'm going to spend today thinking about my manuscript in relation to her words and hopefully find ways to apply and move the novel forward.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Writing in Layers

I'm coming to realize that I tend to write in layers. Either I write the relationship and not enough of the outer story going on around the main characters, or I write the outer story and not enough about the relationship evolving. Obviously being so close to your own work makes it hard to see these sorts of things, so once again I'm thankful for my CP.
Part of the reason this realization came about is because I got a reply back from that agent who just rejected me. While she didn't say either yes or no to the possibility of re-submitting in the future, she did say that if she got time, she would mark up the pages I'd submitted to her with some of her thoughts about what needed to be done to start bringing it up to scratch.
This offer was very generous of her and far, far, far more than I expected or could have ever even dreamed about. So although I already sent her yet another email saying exactly that, I just want to put another "thank you" times a billion out there in the universe because I don't know how long I've been wishing for just some tiny insight into what an agent might be thinking when reading my work.
Once I've gone over my manuscript again and revised these problems, which could take another six to twelve months on my limited writing time, she'll be the first person I send it to, so once again, I have a lot of hope and a lot to look forward to. Of course, I also have a whole lot of hard work between now and then, but at moments like this, I relish the challenge.
Thank you, Agent, for helping me when I needed it most.
Meanwhile, last night I had the weirdest dream. Something about being cryogenically frozen and then when I woke up sometime in the future, I was a teenager again, but I still had my kids with me and my sisters were there and we all had to go back to high school (which we got to via space ship instead of school bus. I guess you'd call it a school ship in that case). And it was all just about the oddest thing I can imagine! Don't know what any of that is meant to mean.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Hit and Miss

I heard back from that agent this morning and much to my disappointment, she declined my work. I guess I've probably taken this one a bit harder because I thought if I ever had a shot, this would really be it.
She pointed out a few things, which I've discussed with my CP. We'll start working on them straight away, but not today. I know when I wake up tomorrow I'll be prepared to start the battle all over again, but today I just can't bring myself to look at it.
I also decided to take a risk. I've been tempted to email agents following a rejection with a 'please explain' reply in the past, but had never done it before. This time, since this agent had been so nice and encouraging towards me, I decided to do it. I thanked her for reading the chapters and asked her if there was any other advice she could give me, or possibility of re-submission in the future. I ended the email saying I understood, however, if she didn't have the time or felt it necessary to reply. So I guess I'll see if she responds. I'm not really loosing anything either way, I don't think.
I sent my entry into the Colorado Heart of the Rockies comp today and am thinking of also entering the Golden Pen contest. And once I've gone over these chapters with my CP again, I'm going to query The Agent for the 50th time (it hasn't really been that many, but I'm sure it feels like it some days). She said she thought I was a talented writer, so I guess I have a lot of hope with her as well. So its not the end. I have to remember that, its just a big, gigantic bump in the road that knocked me down and broke some bones. I just have to get up, mend myself and keep on with things.
But not today.
I'll start again tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Authors with a Sense of Humor

I don't like the Twilight saga. I'm a traditional romance person, so I didn't like the three way thing going on between Bella, Edward and Jacob. I thought Bella and Edward's co-dependant type relationship was a very unhealthy example for teenage girls (like, if my bf dumps me I'm totally going to spend a year sitting in my room staring at a wall and then try to kill myself). I thought the third book (was it Eclipse?) was totally pointless, nothing really happened in it that hadn't already happened before. The only reason I really liked Breaking Dawn is because it ended, thank you, God, it ended. So when I saw my niece wearing a tee-shirt that said "...And then Buffy staked Edward. The End." I was totally on board with that. And someone on YouTube even went to the trouble of creating a mini episode where Buffy does in fact, stake Edward.
This morning on Facebook, Julia Quinn had written on her page "I drove through Forks and didn't see one Vampire or Werewolf." Though, I did notice she didn't add "whiny teens with a death wish" so maybe that bit at least was true.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Changes

Yes, I have changed by blog layout again. The other one was a bit boring. Lots and lots of books are more like it!
I heard straight back from that agent the other day, she requested the first 2 chapters, much to my excitement. From the wording of her email she seemed very interested, I only hope my chapters live up to her expectations and she wants to see the whole book. Of course, then I'll be panicking because I'm only halfway through tearing it apart and putting it back together, but I did tell her that in the original query, so obviously it wasn't a problem. And I hope it'll only be a matter of weeks, not months before I hear back from her about them.
In the meantime, I have more than enough work to do!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Agent Opportunity

Yesterday one of the RWAus members sent around an email saying her agent is specifically looking for romance authors to represent. She's a new agent, but at an agency with a huge reputation, so I'm jumping on this while I can. Though I'm only halfway through tearing my SOAP manuscript apart and putting it back together, I feel the first couple of chapters are in great condition (otherwise I wouldn't be entering them in the Heart of the Rockies comp) and would be happy for this agent to read them. Being a new agent with only a handful of clients, I really feel like this might give me a better chance of at last finding representation and selling one of my books. So I'm off to draft up a query letter to send off today. Though I'm always optimistic when querying agents, I can't remember ever being this excited about contacting an agent. Fingers crossed that this will be it.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Competition Fever Continues

So I decided this week that I'm also going to enter the Colorado Romance Writers Heart of the Rockies comp, which closes next Tuesday. I won't get the results until September, and even if I don't make the final, I think it'll still be worth the almost-one-hundred dollars it cost me by the time I converted the entry fee to US dollars, ordered a bank cheque in said currency and express-couriered the payment and entry form to Colorado (hello, $42 of postage... eeek!). The reason I feel it'll be more than worth it is because your entry is read by at least one published author and you're provided with a score sheet focusing on 20 problem areas and a separate one-page critique. My CP is worth twice her weight in gold, don't get me wrong, but its also good to get other perspectives as well.
Come the end of the year, I'm thinking about taking on the big-guns and entering it in RWAmerica's Golden Heart award. By this time I'm hoping to start querying agents as well. Of course, in order to be able to do all that, I need to get the ms together, not just talk about it. So I should probably go do that now.
Oh, and I'm still waiting on results from RWAus's Val Parv award. Its been almost 3 months and I'm starting to go nuts. Surely the results must be coming in any day now? And I'm not thinking about my submission with Silhouette in New York. I've resigned myself to not hearing back about that for a year or two.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Competiton Fever

I had been planning on entering the new Writing With the Stars comp that Kensington is running, but the guidelines just came out and I don't think I'm going to make it by the closing date, since I'm literally in the middle of tearing my SOAP manuscript apart and putting it back together. The manuscript I subbed to Silhouette isn't long enough and my other completed manuscripts also need the heck edited out of them to be in any decent sort of shape. I guess I could try hibernating for the next four weeks and doing nothing but writing, but with my other commitments, I don't think that would be realistic.
Nathan Bransford is having a suspense/chase scene comp, post 500 words of your suspense/chase scene in the comments section of his blog to win a query crit or phone conversation with him (do you think he'd accept international charges?) which sounds good, so I might read over my latest draft of SOAP and enter one of my suspense scenes.
I'm still waiting to hear back for the RWA Valerie Parv award, surely the results must be coming in sometime soon?
I swore to myself that I wouldn't enter next year's round of comps with RWA, which start again in September, I planned to not need to due to having an agent/publishing contract under my belt. But for all my motivation at the start of the year that I would get somewhere this year, I haven't done anywhere near as much work towards that goal as I should have.
But I suppose it will all happen in time. Just need to get this damn SOAP manuscript finished.