Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Killing time...

So I've been sitting here for *way* too long, agent stalkering. (If they don't want to be stalked, they shouldn't post information on so many sites ;) The world of query waiting is much, much more difficult than I originally thought. Typically things are slow moving. It's a cramped environment when it comes to querying writers. The agent who has my MS right now has had over 600 this year and that's only because she's just beginning her career as an agent! Imagine what it's like for the folks are well established because they've been around umpteen years! Yikes! So seeing as it's only been a few, harrowing days, I really can't complain. It is a competitive market! That's one thing all in the literary world can agree on!

It's an interesting process, querying. Writing really isn't like any "normal" profession where you have acceptable, unacceptable or just plain messed up. It's subjective. From agent to agent and writer to writer. Even in the exact same genre, people see things differently. I don't know how many times I've heard, "ABC is the way to go! You can't go wrong with ABC!" Only to check another source to hear the complete opposite! "A little flattery doesn't hurt. It shows you've done some research..." "Oh no! Never use flattery! It's absolutely unprofessional!" Really? Can't we come to a consensus? Can't there be even a little bit of "this is the right way...?"

So where does this leave the very green, very anxious writer? ...I don't have an answer to that. I was really just asking myself. Just one of a million questions I have about a career I want more than anything.

I keep seeing suggestions for joining this writing group or that literary club. But to be honest, I'm not really the gregarious type. I'm more the socially awkward, turd in the punchbowl type. I write. I can always go back and edit. Conversation, even typing, is instant communication. I tend to babble uncontrollably, driveling on about stuff that's irrelevant, uninteresting, nerdy, or just plain inappropriate. Don't get me wrong. I'm not being rude or crude, but I'd venture a guess that 95% of people don't know or don't care what I'm actually saying. I'm not complaining about my introverted status. I rather like it in fact. I like not having to go to this and that and make conversation. I'm typically the wallflower. And that works for me. No worries. Needless to say however, I don't fall in under wanting to have a group to discuss my ideas with. I much prefer one or two close friends that will be honest and tell me if what I'm writing is droll or confusing. It would be nice to have someone that I could really pester who really knows the "business" of writing. Someone who could tell me, "Hey, back of the adjective; you're being redundant" or "That's too choppy in the middle. Try whittling the chapter down." There's blind panic in wondering what an agent thinks of your work. Constant, mental nagging and rethinking on my part.

Since this has already run too long, I'll bid you adieu!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Waiting is the hardest

Well, I received an email from Ms. Agent requesting that I send her my MS as a .doc instead of a .docx. Oops! Seeing as I had no idea what that meant, I was panicked. I called my sister who is a computer whiz. Her suggestion: Google it! So yeah, God bless search engines. (For future reference, a .docx is an MS Word format that versions 2007 use. If you aren't using a windows based program to read the document, it comes out as squiggles and senseless lettering.) So I went back and re-saved my MS as a Word 97-03 edition (which is readable by other programs) and sent it off. That was a couple of days ago and yet it feels like an eternity!

The waiting is tough. It was different when I first sent the MS several days ago. I had no idea when she would get to it or if she was reading it at any given moment. When she sent the request for me to resend my MS, it meant she was trying to read it! That's crazy intimidating! It's like watching your professor grade your test, all the while, he determines whether or not you graduate! I haven't heard anything one way or another, so I'm assuming no news is good news. She obviously hasn't put it down thinking, "This is terrible." Otherwise I would think she'd send me an email saying so.

That leaves me here...swimming in my thoughts with a squishy stomach and an accelerated heart rate. In the plus column though, my hero Aprilynne Pike has been in touch. She is just the best!!! I can't say enough wonderful things about her. She doesn't know me from Eve, but she's been there answering my silly questions, critiquing (with amazing talent for it) my query letter, and offering me endless support and encouragement! She's just a Godsend! Hopefully I can one day do something, anything, to show her my appreciation. She is the person who has lead the way in my writing, giving me direction and awesome suggestions. She is the woman responsible for my querying the wonderful agent who is perusing my MS right now! If it weren't for Aprilynne, I don't know that I could've made the progress that I have. So THANK YOU, MS. PIKE!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

WoW, heck of a start!

Couldn't sleep but it's all worth it!

Okay, so I decided that this should be an open and honest blog detailing my adventures of my pursuit to publication. Today (well, technically yesterday I suppose) was day one of query letters. I sent out three through email requests. Within 5 minutes I had a rejection. Not so devastating. It's all part of the finding-an-agent game. Plus, it wasn't a huge surprise. I really like this guy, he has a great and very useful/insightful blog. He's been a tremendous help to me personally. However, I never really got the feeling that he rep-ed my kind of stuff. I still think the world of him. Hopefully I'll figure out how to get a link up on my page :/

Next, I queried two other agents. One I have yet to hear anything from...the other has put in a request to read my full MS! I won't lie, I'm absolutely thrilled! This particular agent had me concerned because she places such an emphasis (and well placed, it is) on the age of the protagonist. My genre is YA but my protag doesn't fall in the age range she should. This has raised some concern for me. I feel her issues aren't "adult" and her being "college age" doesn't really come into play because nothing is set in school--it's summer. She isn't a grown-up by any stretch of the imagination, so her age is a bit more flexible. Should a potential agent feel that needs to change, I can definitely accommodate that, but I feel like she's fine the way she is now. I said all that to say this...this particular agent is fabulous and I really, really, really hope she's into my stuff. I follow her blog, her facebook and all the other stalker-like venues and I feel like I kind of have a read on her. From my perspective, I think we would be a good match. So here's to waiting. *sigh*

Keeping my fingers crossed and still swimming... :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Talk about being blind

Agents are tough...a fact that I am slowly coming to grips with. Perhaps it isn't that they're so tough as much as they're tough to read. There are very few definitive lines of right and wrong when searching for an agent. Do they represent the genre you're so vociferous about? Yes or No, fairly simple. After that, it's like swimming in the ocean after nightfall. There's no north or south, east or west. You have no idea what's above or beneath you. All you have is whether or not your head is submerged.

That leaves a lot in the way of knowing how to proceed.

Sometimes agents want a query that is detailed and follows a precise formula. Others simply want a letter that is entertaining (I prefer them, personally) and shows that you are a captivating author who can spell and use proper grammar. So, how does one navigate such a task? Lots of research for every, individual agent, tons of patience and tolerance, and--as I'm in the throes of literary battle myself--a thick hide.

So in the words of Dori the fish (Finding Nemo): Just keep swimming.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

In the beginning was the word (not God's but mine)

Okay, so here I go with blogging--a pastime that I, not so long ago, swore was an obsessive desire to be noticed and considered it slightly narcissistic. My apologies where offense occurs. I understand blogging from a POV of being helpful, insightful, or in general, some way useful. Often as not, it's an excuse to think that your own opinion is somehow valid and necessary to the rest of humanity, or at least those with internet capability. Hopefully I won't forever fall under that category.

So my blog, however insignificant for the time being, will basically consist of my thoughts, feelings, and the such in the glorious though trying journey of gaining publication so that I can actually make a living doing what I love...writing.

Considering this is the very first time I have ever blogged about anything, this will no doubt be a learning process. Stick with me. I assume a little background might help...

March 1997--I wake up having had this fabulous dream--this happens often--and I decided that I want to explore the beings in my dream a little further. (Keep in mind here that I'm not a published writer and I haven't queried the first agent thus far. This means what's in my head and on paper is mine, for the time being.) So I get out a notebook and jot down 40 pages longhand. For whatever reason, I lay it down and don't pick it back up until April 2009. I went to my parent's house, dug the folder out of an old drawer and sat down at my laptop...I've been here ever since. That's the short version of what happened but it's all the basics.

So, here I am almost a year later and I've actually written two books. After I completed my first novel (at over 700 pages) I gave it to a few of my close friends, hoping they could offer valuable insight and critique. One friend in particular thought it would be better suited to split the book into two. Taking her thought into serious consideration--this is a feat that required some revamping--I divided the story and came out with double the books but double the work. That's okay though, it meant I could dedicate more effort and allot more time to developing my characters and the story line. Even in 700+ pages, I felt rushed in a lot of places and condensed things down in areas that didn't need condensing.

Here I am now. One novel completed at 99,000 words and working on writing my query letter. But hey, query letters are another issue altogether. This is just the beginning!