Wednesday, July 28, 2010

More Queries

This morning I sent out another couple of queries for my SOAP manuscript, so we'll see if any requests come of them. Otherwise I've been humming along with my sci fi romance, been getting 1000+ words done everyday, though I don't imagine that will last. At the moment I'm all for belting it out, getting the story down on screen so I then have something to work with and hopefully something to query agents with sooner rather than later. Writing between 1000 to 2000 words a day is a pretty punishing pace to keep up, resulting in anywhere from 7000 to 14000 words a week. Of course, its fun to imagine I could keep going at this speed because I'd have the basic manuscript finished and ready for editing in about two months from now. Of course, my brain may also end up melted, so I'm sure there are both pros and cons there.
Anyhoo, instead of rambling, I should get back to writing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Insider Information

I heard from a reliable source in the last few days that some agents are finding it hard to sell romantic suspense at the moment (whether due to a saturation in the market, or waning popularity, I'm not sure) and therefore are not looking to take on any new rom sus authors. This puts a bit of a dent in my plans, since my SOAP manuscript is a rom sus.
So now I'm faced with a choice. Do I keep shopping SOAP around to agents, even knowing the harder odds I might be facing, or do I move on to something else, a sci-fi romance for instance? It seems almost like fate that I started this new manuscript a few weeks back when I'd been putting it off for so long and have now been made aware of this possible roadblock concerning my SOAP book.
While I'm more than happy to put a majority of my energy into this new story, I don't know if I'm ready to totally give up on SOAP yet, after all, I've put an awful lot of work into that these past months. Maybe I'll query a few more agents and see if I get any requests. In the meantime, I'll get writing on my romantic sci-fi.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Before the Gates Close

Jessica Faust over at BookEnds lit agency announced on her blog last week that she'd be closing for queries from Monday 19th July until sometime in September. Since she's one of the agents on the top of my list and I'm impatient, I decided to shoot her off a quick letter before she closed for the next few months, even though I had said I was going to take some time to finish the editing that needs doing on my SOAP manuscript. I expect she'll ask for the first 3 chapters, if past experience is anything to go on. Those pages are looking great, I believe. As to whether or not she wants to see the entire manuscript after that, who can say? Obviously, as always, I live in hope that she will want to see the whole book. But I admit I still do have a fair bit of editing to get through before that happens.
My editing efforts have been somewhat hampered by the fact that I finally decided to live my dream. I was feeling a bit burned and uninspired by all the editing I'd been doing on SOAP and decided that I was at last going to make a start on writing the one manuscript I'd always wanted to write, but never had; a sci-fi romance.
There were a couple of reasons I'd never tried this before. One, there's not exactly a huge market for them out there at the moment, despite how popular paranormal romances continue to be. Secondly, I didn't know if I could carry it off. Sci-fi readers can't be fooled, I should know, I am one. We want to read a book that sounds genuine, that the writer knew what they were talking about technologically when building this advanced world. There needs to be a finite balance between adequate information about the world (or universe, as it may be) so that the reader doesn't feel lost, the developing romance between the characters and the story which draws them all together.
Quite honestly, I didn't think I could have successfully brought all these elements into play before. Now, however, I feel I've come a long way in my writing in the past year and even past few weeks. I decided I wanted to challenge myself, didn't want to bury my yearning to write a sci-fi romance anymore. I've never started a more researched, considered manuscript than this one. I've been taking notes for yeas, jotting down ideas, putting character's names together.
So for the time being, I'm totally engrossed in my new manuscript, but in another few days I will start dividing my time between the two, after all, I seem to remember once feeling almost as excited about my SOAP manuscript.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Back to Where I Started

I heard back from that agent again (fast, I know!) and she said that while I'd done a great job with the re-write, she still wasn't feeling it. She thought the opening scene a little generic (eeep! Don't tell me that. Do you know how many different opening scenes I've written for this book?) and she thought maybe it was more about taste, as in, she doesn't love it but its not to say someone else won't.
What I should do now is continue on with editing and re-writing until the manuscript is finished. But my problem? Often I get to this point and want to give up in favour of starting something new. But I really should stick with it. I've queried one whole agent with it (only because I wasn't quite finished yet and the opportunity was there) so if I actually got back to where I started with my plan and in a few weeks or months start an actual query process with all the agents on my list, I might actually get somewhere.
But to give myself a small break so my brain doesn't explode or I don't get totally sick of it, I might think about a different project for a few days, just for the fun of it. After all, I have to remember I'm doing this because I love writing.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Quick Update

I woke up this morning to a reply waiting for me from the agent I emailed yesterday. She wants to read my first couple of chapters again and used the word 'exciting' so of course now I've hit the equal parts terrified and excited part of the query process. So step one of re-querying agent has been successful. Now I only need step two of agent reading first couple of chapters to work out and I'll be on my way. I'm going to give my pages one more read over before I send them off this morning and then - you guessed it - back to waiting again.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Agent Query Take Two

I've just sent a re-query, I suppose you could call it, to that agent who was kind enough to offer me extra advice a few weeks back when I asked for it. If past association is anything to go on, hopefully it shouldn't be too long before she gets back to me and even more hopefully, she'll be willing to read my first couple of chapters again. And I probably don't need to say that my ultimate hope is that she'll love the first chapters, request the entire manuscript and then offer me representation. However, I still have a lot of work to do before I quite get there.
So its back to the waiting game and we all know how much I love this part. I should go do some work to keep my mind off things!
Also, this song came to me that I hadn't heard for years, so I thought I'd share some classic Aussie rock.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Changing Habits

I've never liked writing at night. Actually, its not so much that I don't like it, its more that I have a lot of trouble getting my brain to cooperate after about 6pm. If I had my way, I'd do all of my writing and editing in the morning after breakfast, over lunch and into the early afternoon. This seems to be the time of day when the words and ideas flow easiest. However, as most writers will tell you, life often gets in the way, so there aren't many days when sitting down to write at this time of day is a viable option. In the past few weeks, I've been making myself sit down for an hour or so of work after dinner. The first few nights I did this, it was like trying to drive a car with one of those boot things on the tire. I was going nowhere fast. But slowly, my brain seems to be getting used to it, I suppose its a bit like exercising. The past few nights haven't seemed as hard and once I get going, I'm fine.
Perhaps one day in the future, I'll be in a better position to write during the morning or whenever I feel like it. But for now, out of necessity, I needed to change my writing habits in order to actually get some writing done.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Does It Get Any Better?

Over at Bookends, Jessica Faust was answering a question a reader had sent in about rejections and if it ever gets any easier to handle. I know I've talked about rejection on here many times, but after reading the words of a new author receiving rejections for the very first time, it made me reflect on my journey as a whole.
Its been almost ten years now since I first sat down in front of the computer at my parent's house (because I was only 18 and still living at home) and decided I wanted to see if I could write a book. I had characters, I had a story idea, but the prospect of writing something almost 100,000 words long was daunting and I wasn't sure I could do it. A few months later, I'd proven I could with a complete manuscript. During that time, I decided I was way out of my depth and needed some help, so enrolled to study a Diploma in Professional Writing and Editing. I remember being daunted by this prospect as well. The writing course was highly sort after, one of the only ones in my entire state and obviously there were only so many places. To get in, I had to be interviewed and present a portfolio of my writing. If I'd had anything published, it was an almost guaranteed entry. But I'd had nothing published and still wasn't even sure if I was doing the right thing or not. Sure, writing was fun, but did I really have the drive to make a career out of it? The only way I would get into that course was if I interviewed well and my portfolio looked promising. I took the first page of my manuscript (which I shudder to think about now) and some pieces I'd written for high school assignments the year before. I thought I totally stuffed up the interview and didn't know how my portfolio would stack up in the eyes of journalists and published authors. I walked away convinced I wouldn't get in and wondering what I should do with my life instead. I could do casual night classes they offered which would guarantee me a place the following year, but I didn't want to waste another year of my life without any real direction.
The day I received a letter saying I'd gotten into the program was about the most excited I could remember being in a long time. I think that was about the point I decided that, no matter what, I would make something out of my writing. I started studying and soon realized I had a passion and drive few others in my classes had. I could sit down and type out a few thousand words no sweat while others spent days labouring over a page or two. I also came to realize that my raw talent had something that others didn't. The teachers took an interest in me, a couple in particular became friends and mentors, telling me that it was rare to find someone who had what I did and they had no doubt that one day I would make it. Of course, finding my place as I did, cruising through the assignments and workload without a hitch didn't earn me many friends.
In the first two years I had a couple of friends who I still talk to occasionally now, but in the last two years, and the very last in particular, there were some people who were downright mean to me, bitching about me in classes I didn't attend and even going so far as to leave an abusive letter in my pigeon hole (used for teachers returning assignments, etc). I guess by that fourth year I knew who I was and what I wanted to do. I wasn't going to apologize for my talent, for my drive, for the fact that maybe it did look like one or two of the teachers favoured me. I didn't go out of my way to make friends, I was only there part time anyway. But neither did I act unkindly towards them or snob them or do anything to deserve the apparent strong dislike a few of the other students had for me. Anyway, that's all in the past now, I'd actually forgotten about it until I started this trip down memory lane.
During those years studying, I joined Romance Writers Australia and quickly came to realize the first manuscript I'd written probably wasn't going to get me very far. It had many, many problems so I decided to start fresh with a new story. If you read this blog regularly, then you know me and know that I'm always in big favour of the re-write. I'd rather re-start something from scratch than try to fix what's already there. So I wrote another manuscript. Followed by a couple more. I started submitting to publishers and then started querying agents. The first ever request for a partial came from Jessica Faust at Bookends for a paranormal I'd written. Obviously nothing came of it, but that small step forward renewed my drive. I wrote my first SOAP manuscript, started entering competitions. Jessica Faust also request that first SOAP novel after I queried her about it, but again, I didn't get far. SOAP brought me a few other requests from other agents, so I knew I was onto something.
I started getting to know a couple of people through RWA and met my CP, who just over a year ago now, offered to start working with me. In the last twelve months, I think I've come further than I had in all the past three years since I finished studying put together.
When I first started submitting and querying, I told myself I wasn't going to take rejections personally, because they were part of the ride and it wasn't a personal comment on me or my work, it all just came down to business. So I didn't take any personally, but I still took some of them to heart. I think I can see now that I wasn't ready. I've had to take baby steps on this road when I all wanted to do was fly. But I wouldn't be the writer I am today if it wasn't for all those little, tiny, frustrating baby steps. I stopped counting a long time ago the number of rejections I'd received, like days scratched into the wall of a prison. I'd rather view them as mile markers on my road to publication, and I can't imagine many of us count how many mile markers we've passed when driving our car on a long journey.
With this round of revisions I'm doing with an agent's help, I really feel I'm coming to the end of this leg of the trip. But of course, an entirely new road is about to be opened up. I know now that no matter how many books I write, how many years I publish for, I'll always me learning, changing, honing my craft.
So to answer the original question myself, I don't know that it does get any better in terms of rejection. I think its more a question of when and if we get to a point where we can view things differently.