Tales of Rejection

or the journey to becoming published

Tag: novels

Baby, it’s cold outside (and I’m freezing my ass off!)

I got an email today from my agent. She says she plans to begin submitting Stay (or resubmitting for some publishers) towards the end of January when the publishing houses open again. Apparently, even publishers need a break. I know it could be, and very likely will be, months before I hear anything, but it gives me something to look forward to. I know what the odds are like. But I’m going to continue to hope against hope. Besides, everytime I get an email or phone call from her I get school girl excited.

Last week I got a year-end-review type of email from her. It was sent out to all of the writers she represents, I assume. It listed all of her sales in 2013 and also listed the anticipated releases for 2014. It was impressive. I mean, I don’t really know how many books an agent should sell a year, but it seemed like a good number. I tried to Google this info, but didn’t come up with any solid numbers. I also appreciate the transparency. I feel like I can brag about my agent’s stellar sales. I already knew about many of them–they’re listed on the website. I’m just so thrilled to be a part of it all.

Of course, some would say I’m still in the Honeymoon Phase with my agent. They may be right, but I don’t see any reason not to enjoy it. I mean, afterall, isn’t that what a honeymoon is for?

I’ve written about author/agent/ Noah Lukeman before in previous posts. I think his How to Land (and keep) a Literary Agent is a stellar read for anyone beginning the querying process. It answers at LOT of questions. It is a good place to start, even if (maybe even especially if) you’re not quite to that querying phase yet. He’s also written another great piece called Ask A Literary Agent: Year One that you can access free. It answers all of those questions that first-time authors and first-agented authors might have about the agent/author relationship–you know, all those questions you’re secretly afraid to ask your OWN agent.

I guess I should get back to writing If I’m going to accomplish my word count goal for the day. I have a word count goal of 1,000 words for every day (except weekends when I know better than to expect anything). This weather–lots of snow and WAY BELOW FREEZING temps–here in Missouri has made me quite lazy. (My friend who lives in North Dakota is rolling her eyes at me right about now.) It sounds odd, but once I go back to work next week I’ll surely be more productive. I work best when I can be on a schedule. I don’t always meet my goal, and some days I go above and beyond it. The ultimate goal for Just Fine With Caroline is to be finished with the first draft by the end of May. That gives me about five months.

My child is still awake…so…wish me luck!

Protagonist Rising

I’ve spent the last 24 hours or so glued to governmental proceedings. I was waiting on pins and needles to hear the decision regarding DOMA by the Supreme Court, and I watched the live feed of Texas senator, Wendy Davis, filibustering Senate Bill 5 (an abortion bill that would virtually ban abortion in the state of Texas and limit the number of clinics able to provide abortion services to FIVE statewide).

Today has been a good day for equality. I’m proud to be an American today.

I keep hearing and truly hope that the civil rights activism of today will be compared years from now to civil rights activism of the 1960’s and to the women’s sufferage movement of the early 20th century. I would love to believe that the people opposed to marriage equality today will be seen the same way as the people who opposed equality for people of color or who opposed equality for women. However, as long as there are people out there who still see homosexuality as a choice there will always be people who believe that it is okay to deny them rights. We all know that sexism and racism are not dead, but in order for homophobia to be seen with the same disgust as the former more people have to start believing that being gay is no more a choice than being female or the color of our skin.

We must believe that we are all equal regardless of gender, color, or sexuality. I don’t know that I’ll live to see that day, but I won’t stop fighting for as long as I live. That much I can guarantee.

I generally try to reserve this blog for writing about my writing (haha), and I’ll get there, I promise. But the truth is that much of my writing has been flavored by politics for as long as I can remember. Writing and talking about politics has been one of the greatest loves of my life.

You can all thank my mother for this personality trait.

When I sat down to write Stay, I tried to steer clear of politics. Rather, I tried to create characters that could be enjoyed by all people (namely women since Stay is a contemporary romance), regardless of political or religious affiliation. It was a conscious effort on my part. I feared at first that this would make my characters boring, one-dimensional. But I soon found that as the story developed there was really no room for politics. The characters of Addie and Jasper wouldn’t allow it. I thanked them for making my life easier on many occasions.

There is, of course, the underlying theme of animal cruelty (primarily dog fighting) within the pages of Stay. Animal welfare is a hot button issue right now which also makes it a political issue (think Proposition B in Missouri in 2010 or the Humane Society of the United States’ campaign against puppy mills). However, it is not necessarily a controversial issue. Most people would probably say that they are opposed to animal cruelty. The dabate begins when we start talking about how our laws will prevent such cruelty. There are parts of my novel that deal with this issue, more specifically the issue surrounding the lack of enforcable laws in many states when it comes to punishing criminal activity such as dog fighting.

I wrote about animal cruelty to tug at the reader’s heart strings. I wrote about animal cruelty because it is one of the issues I care about most and is a much more emotional issue to me than it is political. I have four rescued bulldogs at home, and 3 of them are puppy mill and cruelty survivors. But Stay, in the general sense, is not a novel frought with politcs.

My next novel may not follow the same guidelines. The protagonist in the outline on which I’m working is much different than Addie. She’s not as sweet. In fact, she can be a real bitch. As I make notes, she’s turning out to be much more flawed than I planned.

I realize that every character that an author creates will be different from the last. So I didn’t necessarily expect the protagonist in these books to be the same. I mean, how boring would that be? But what I’m finding is that this protagonist is giving me a little more to work with…a little more room for politics and a little more room for crazy.

Early a.m. arrest, anyone?

So far, some of the notes I’ve made while on vacation look like this:

–ferris wheel/fair

–Magnolia Hotel

–arrested

–chimpanzee

–law officer character similar to **** (a person I know in Real Life)

I really can’t wait to get home and start putting my nose to the grindstone. Is that the proper cliche? I can never remember. Why would anyone put their nose to a grindstone? It sounds terribly painful if you ask me.

Toes in the sand

My family and I left for Gulf Shores, Alabama on Friday. So far, I’ve been totally ignoring the fact that I promised I’d get some writing done. All I’ve done is think about what I want to write as I lie in bed at night.  

I know a lot of people probably use their vacation time for…well…vacation. But I do some of my best writing while on vacation. The change of scenery invigorates me. My mindset is different, and that means that I have the opportunity to write pieces that I might not normally write. 

Of course, I’m spending a lot of time keeping my toddler from running straight into the salty arms of the ocean. He is not afraid of water. This makes me happy and terrified all at the same time. I’m glad he’s such a water baby. But I’m literally having nightmares about him being carried away by the tide. 

About 10 miles from Gulf Shores is a little town called Foley. It’s got tons of cute, little thrift and antique shops. It also boasts an old hotel called The Magnolia. This year when we drove by we noticed that The Magnolia is for sale. It gave me an idea for my next novel, and I’ve begun working on the details (in my head only, of course, ha!). I want to go back to Foley sometime this week and walk around the hotel and maybe take a few pictures.  

But right now, this is what I’m doing: 

Vacation, all I ever wanted…

I got an email this morning from Priya. She wanted to make sure I knew it was official.

How freaking COOL is that?

It was really nice opening up my email to see that, because today has not been the greatest of days. We’re supposed to be leaving tonight on vacation for a week, and my son woke up with asthmatic bronchitis (he’s had chronic respiratory and allergy issues since birth). Any little flare up can turn into a big deal very quickly. There are few things more terrifying than watching your child struggle to breathe. I generally qualify this by saying that I know in the grand scheme of childhood illness, his isn’t all that terrible. But that doesn’t make it any less shitty for him when he’s sick.

Now he’s on an antibiotic and we’ve got to do breathing treatments around the clock. The antibiotic made him sick to his stomach (add that to the fact that we’re potty training), so this afternoon was especially exciting. I felt so badly for him. He’d just flush the toilet before he would look at me and say, “Mommy. I gotta go again.”

Poor kid.

Moving on…I’d like to say HELLLOOOO to all my new followers. I’m so glad you’re here! I’d also love it if you’d follow me on Twitter. I’m @aenoblin, and I’m always looking to follow more people. I let my Twitter account languish for about a year, but now I’m back and trying to build a following. Which, in all honesty, sounds kind of lame. But I keep reading and hearing about how important it is to have a platform and an internet presence, which is something I’m not super great at. I don’t like the thought of having to promote myself because I don’t want people to think that I’m being self-involved. In some ways, I hate the digital aspect of publishing/writing because it puts all this pressure on writers that many of us are ill-equipped to deal with. Most of us are totally weird and awkward 99.9% of the time. However, at the same time there are so many neat things about being able to build an online readership or self-pubbing or interacting with other writers in a way that makes the sterotype of the lonely writer obsolete.

I don’t know. I’m just going to jump in and do the best I can. I mean, what else can a girl do?

Slish Slush: making my way through the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents

Below I have listed the agents/agencies I queried that were featured within the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents, which accounts for maybe half of the agents I queried in total. The book was a great guide and a great place to start. Ultimately, this was not how I found my agent. I’ll list the other agencies I queried that were NOT in this book in another post. 

Every agent/agency I queried represented one of three genres: commercial (or general fiction, which honestly encompasses a LOT), women’s fiction, or romance. I’ll link their websites if one is available. Please be advised that sometimes agents don’t respond if they are not interested in seeing more material. So a non-response doesn’t always mean the agent is flaky or not interested, and many of them ask for as long as 12 weeks to give a response. 

A+B Works: Queried 4/24. Rejected 5/10.

About Words Agency: Queried 4/24 and have never heard back.

The Ahearn Agency, Inc: Queried 3/25 and have never heard back. 

Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency: Queried 3/29 and have never heard back.

Betsy Amster Literary: Queried 3/25 and have never heard back.  

Artists and Artisans: Queried 4/24 and have never heard back. 

Robert Astle and Associates Literary Management, Inc: Queried 3/25 and have never heard back.

Avenue A Literary: Queried 3/25 and have never heard anything back. 

Barer Literary: Queried 4/24, and have never heard back, although I DID get an automated message stating that they received my query. 

Barone Literary Agency: Queried 3/29. This is one of the agencies on which I should have done more research. On 3/31 Ms. Barone asked me to “re-write” the sample chapters I sent to her. I thought that was kind of strange, because if she didn’t like the way the first three chapters were written, she probably wasn’t going to like the rest of the novel. I am not going to say that she is not a capable agent. However, I will say that most of her sales are to small presses that don’t require an agent. Ultimately, I did not resubmit the chapters to her. 

Liza Dawson Associates: Queried 3/25. I’m pretty sure I was rejected by this agency, but I don’t have it marked down. 

Baror International, Inc: Queried 4/15, and have never heard anything back. 

Loretta Barrett Books, Inc: Queried 3/29, and have never heard anything back. 

Faye Bender Literary Agency: Queried 4/24, and have never heard anything back. 

The Bent Agency: Queried 3/29. Rejected 4/9. I accidentally re-queried this agency and sent Jenny Bent an e-query in May. Once I realized my error, I sent her another email apolgoizing. She hadn’t been the agent to reject me originally. She responded about a week later with a polite rejection. In fact, she was extremely nice about it and had very nice things to say about my sample chapters. Jenny Bent is a class-act, and anyone represented by her is a lucky duck. 

Vicky Bijur Literary Agency: Queried 4/24. Rejected 5/9. 

David Black Literary: Queried 4/24, and have never heard anything back. 

Bond Literary Agency: Queried 4/15, and have never heard anything back. 

BookEnds, LLC: Queried 3/25. Request for first 3 chapters from Jessica Alvarez, but was ultimately rejected on 4/20. This was my first rejection after a request, and it really sucked. She was nice about it, though. 🙂 

Bradford Literary Agency: Queried 3/29. Rejected 4/15.

Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents, Inc: Queried 4/24, and have never heard anything back. 

Barbara Braun Associates, Inc: Queried 4/15. Rejected: 4/17. They’re fast!

Paul Bresnick Literary Agency, LLC: Queried 4/17, and never heard anythin back. 

Curtis Brown, LTD: Queried 4/25, and never heard anything back. This agency does say that should they ask for material that they’d like to be exclusive. At the time, I had no other partials or fulls out there, so it would have been okay. Just make sure you know that before you query. 

Browne & Miller Literary Associates, LLC: Queried 4/25. Rejected 5/6.

Tracy Brown Literary Agency: Queried 4/25. Rejected 4/26. They’re fast!

Sheree Bykofsky Associates, INC: Queried 4/17, and have never heard anything back. 

Kimberly Cameron & Associates: Queried 4/17, and have never heard anything back. 

Maria Carvainis Agency, Inc: Queried: 3/28. Rejected 4/2. Pretty quick!

Castiglia Literary Agency: Queried 4/25. Received a request for the first three chapters from Winifred Golden. She said she’d get back to me within a week, but I never heard from her. I take partial responsibility for that because I should have nudged. Interestingly, I heard back from her today about the offer of rep I’ve received. She asked me to send the rest of the ms. 

Chase Literary Agency: Queried 4/25. Rejected 4/25. Fastest of the fast! I took a chance on Farley Chase because he had been interested in my non-fic project a few years ago, and I was really impressed with him. I pretty much knew that he was going to reject me, though. My book isn’t really his thing. At the time, he was with another agency (can’t remember who), and he is out on his own now. 

Jane Chelius Literary Agency: Queried 4/25, and never heard anything back. 

Elyse Cheney Literary Associates, LLC: Queried 4/26, and never heard anything back. I did, however, receive a confirmation that the email had gone through where they stated that they do not respond if they are not interested. 

The Chudney Agency: Queried 4/17. Rejected 5/3. 

FinePrint Literary Management: Queried 3/26. Got a request for the first 50 pages from Becky Vinter. I was ultimately rejected. I can’t find the rejection date, but it came about 5 weeks later. 

Frances Collin, Literary Agent: Queried 4/25. Rejected 4/30. 

Don Congdon Associates: Queried 3/26, and have never heard anything back. 

Cornerstone Literary, INC: Queried 4/29, and have never heard anything back. 

The Creative Culture: Queried 4/29, and have never heard anything back. 

Laura Dail Literary Agency, INC: Queried 4/29. Rejected 5/13.

Liza Dawson Associates: Queried 3/25. Rejected 4/17. 

The Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency: Queried 4/1, and have never heard anything back. 

DeFiore & Co: Queried 4/1. Rejected 4/13.

Jacques De Spoelberch Associates: Queried 4/29, and have never heard anything back. 

Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency: Queried 4/1, and have never heard anything back. 

Dunham Literary, INC: Queried 5/14, and have never heard anything back. 

Dunow, Carlson, & Lerner Agency: Queried 4/17. Rejected 4/23. 

Dystel & Goderich Literary Management: Queried 3/28. Rejected 5/2. 

Anne Edelstein Literary Agency: Queried 5/14, and have never heard anything back. 

Judith Ehrlich Literary Management, LLC: Queried 5/14, and have never heard anything back. 

Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agency: Queried 3/27, and have never heard anything back. 

The Nicholas Ellison Agency: Queried 5/14, and have never heard anything back. 

Fairbank Literary Representation: Queried 3/27. Rejected 3/29 Super fast!

The Fielding Agency: Queried 5/14, and have never heard anything back.

Diana Finch Literary: Queried 5/14. Rejected 5/26.

Folio Literary Management: Queried 3/27, and haven’t heard anything back. I did, however, receive an automated email that they received my query.

Fox Literary: Queried 3/27. Rejected 4/4. 

Lynn C. Franklin Associates, LTD: Queried 5/14, and have never heard anything back. 

Sarah Jane Freymann Literary Agency: Queried 5/14. Received a request for the first 10 pages from Ms. Freyman on 5/16. Personal rejection on 6/12. She was very nice and invited me to submit future projects to her. 

The Friedrich Agency: Queried 5/15, and have never heard anything back. 

Gelfman Schneider Literary Agents, INC: Queried 5/15, and have never heard anything back.

The Gernert Company: Queried 4/8, and have never heard anything back.  

Frances Goldin Literary Agency, Inc: Queried 5/15, and have never heard anything back. 

Irene Goodman Literary Agency: Queried 3/26, and never heard anything back. However, I did receive a confirmation email stating that if they wanted to see more they would let me know. 

Doug Grad Literary Agency, INC: Queried 3/27, and have never heard anything back. 

Sanford J. Greenburger Associates, INC: Queried 4/8, and have never heard anything back. 

Kathryn Green Literary Agency, LLC: Queried 3/28.  Rejected 4/17. 

Jill Grosjean Literary Agency: Queried 4/8. Rejected 4/9. FAST!

Laura Gross Literary Agency: Queried 5/16, and have never heard anything back. 

Richard Henshaw Group: Queried 4/3, and have never heard anything back.

HSG Agency: Queried 5/16. Ms. Carrie Hannigan requested the first 50 pages on 6/1. When I emailed her to tell her about my offer of representation, she asked for me to send the rest of my ms. I ultimately declined to send it. She is very nice and professional.  

Fine Literary: Queried 4/3. I’m pretty sure I was rejected by this agency, but I can’t find the info to confirm it. 

Andrea Hurst Literary Management: Queried 5/16, and have never heard anything back. 

Inkwell Literary Management: Queried 4/3. Rejected 4/22.

International Transactions, INC: Queried 5/16, and have not heard anything yet. 

Jabberwocky Literary Agency: Queried 5/16, and have never heard anything back. 

Jet Literary Associates: Queried 5/16. Received an email from Ms. Liz Trupin stating that due to a family illness she is no longer accepting queries. She was very polite. 

Natasha Kern Literary Agency: Queried 4/3, and have never heard anything back. I did, however, receive an automated email stating that if they were interested I’d hear back from them. 

Harvy Klinger: Queried 4/8. Rejected 4/9. FAST!

Kneerim & Williams: Queried 5/17. Rejected 5/21.

KT Literary: Queried 4/8. Rejected 4/25.

The LA Literary Agency: Queried 5/17, and have never heard anything back. 

Laura Langlie Literary Agent: Queried 5/17. Rejected 5/17. Super fast!

Michael Larson/Elizabeth Pomada LIterary Agents: Queried 4/8. Rejected 4/10. While I appreciated the quick response, I felt like Ms. Pomada was quite flip in her response. Maybe I read into it more than I should have, but it really rubbed me the wrong way. 

The Leshne Agency: Queried 5/17, and have yet to hear back. 

Levine Greenberg Literary Agency, INC: Queried 5/17, and have yet to hear back. 

Paul S. Levine Literary Agency: Queried 5/17. Rejected 5/18. FAST!

Lippincott Massie McQuilkin: Queried 5/17. Request for the first 50 pages on 5/21 from Mr. Jason Anthony. Ultimately a very kind rejection on 5/30. All in all, this was extremely quick turnaround. 

Lowenstein Associates, INC: Queried 4/9, and have yet to hear back. 

Marsal Lyon Literary Agency, LLC: Queried 4/8. Received a request for the first 50 pages from Ms. Kevan Lyon on 4/12. Ultimately a very helpful rejection on 5/13. I was pretty bummed to be rejected by Ms. Lyon. I really wanted to work with her, although I know now that it worked out for the best. 

Lyons Literary: Queried 5/17, and have yet to hear back. However, I did receive an automated email stating that if they were interested they would let me know within 3 weeks. 

Donald Maass Literary Agency: Queried 4/8. Rejected 4/16. 

Gina Maccoby Literary Agency: Queried 5/17, and have yet to hear back. 

Ricia Mainhardt Agency (RMA): Queried 4/10, and have yet to hear back. 

Kirsten Manges Literary Agency: Queried 4/10, and have yet to hear back. 

Carol Mann Agency: Queried 4/10. Rejected 5/8. I think they may have requested some sample chapters, but I can’t find the documentation. 

Manus & Associates Literary Agency, INC: Queried 4/17, and have yet to hear back. I actually accidentally re-queried on 5/17 without realizing it until just now (oops). I have yet to hear back from either query, lol. 

The Denise Marcil Literary Agency, INC: Queried 5/17, and have yet to hear anything back. 

McIntosh & Otis, INC: Queried 4/10, and have yet to hear back. 

Dee Mura Literary: Queried 4/10. Rejected 5/14. 

Muse Literary Management: Queried 4/10, and have yet to hear back. 

Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency, INC: Queried 5/17, and have yet to hear back. 

Nelson Literary Agency: Queried 4/10. Rejected 4/12. 

Northern Lights Literary Services, INC: Queried 4/10, and have yet to hear back. 

Fifi Oscard Agency, INC: Queried 4/10, and have yet to hear back. 

Park Literary Group, LLC: Queried 4/10, and have yet to hear back. 

Pearson, Morris, & Belt: Queried 5/17, and have yet to hear back. 

L. Perkins Agency: Queried 4/11, and have yet to hear back. 

Alicka Pistek Literary Agency,LLC: Queried 4/11, and have yet to hear back. 

PMA Literary and Film Management, INC: Queried 4/12, and have yet to hear back. 

Linn Prentis Literary: Queried 4/13, and have yet to hear back. 

Prospect Agency: Queried 4/13, and have yet to hear back. I did, however, receive an automated message to let me know my query had been received. 

Helen Rees Literary Agency: Queried 4/13. Rejected 4/13. Super fast!

Angela Rinaldi Literary Agency: Queried 4/13. Rejected 4/15. Pretty quick!

RLR Associates, LTD: Queried 4/14, and have yet to hear back. 

B.J. Robbins Literary Agency: Queried 4/14, and have yet to hear back. 

Jane Rotrosen Agency LLC: Queried 4/14, and have yet to hear back. 

Wendy Schmalz Agency: Queried 4/15, and have yet to hear back. 

Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency, INC: Queried 4/14, and have yet to hear back. 

Serendipity Literary Agency, LLC: Queried 4/8, and have yet to hear back. 

Wendy Sherman Associates, INC: Queried 4/18, and have yet to hear back. I did, however, get an automated email letting me know they’d received my query.

Spencerhill Associates: Queried 4/15, and have never heard anything back. 

The Spieler Agency: Queried 5/18, and have not heard back yet. 

Steele-Perkins Literary Agency: Queried 4/18, and have never heard anything back. 

Stonesong: Queried 5/18, and have never heard anything back. 

Robin Strauss Agency, INC: Queried 4/18. Rejected 5/6. 

Pam Strickler Author Management: Queried 4/18. Rejected 4/23. 

The Stringer Literary Agency: Queried 4/18. Rejected 4/23. 

The Strothman Agency: Queried 4/18. Rejected 4/22. 

The Stuart Agency: Queried 4/18, and have never heard anything back. 

Emma Sweeney Agency, LLC: Queried 4/18, and have never heard anything back. 

The Swetky Agency: Queried 4/18, and have never heard anything back. 

Stephanie Tade Literary Agency: Queried 5/18. Rejected 5/20. Pretty fast turnaround!

Talcott Notch Agency: Queried 4/18, and have never heard anything back.

Tessler Literary Agency: Queried 4/19, and have never heard anything back.  

Three Seas Literary Agency: Queried 4/19, and have never heard anything back. 

Triada U.S. Literary Agency, INC: Queried 5/18, and have not heard back. 

Trident Media Group: Queried 4/19. Received request for full ms on 4/23 from Ms. MacKenzie Fraser-Bub. When I contacted her about being offered representation, she asked for three days to continue reading, but ultimately declined the ms. She was extremely polite and had really nice things to say about my book. She was one of my top 10 agents. 

The Unter Agency: Queried 5/25, and have not heard anything. However, I did get an automated email stating that the agency received my query and that they would contact me if they were interested in viewing more. 

Upstart Crow Literary: Queried 4/19. Rejected 4/24. 

Venture Literary: Queried 4/19, and have never heard anything back. 

Veritas Literary Agency: Queried 4/22, and have never heard anything back. 

Waxman Literary Agency: Queried 4/8, and have never heard anything back. 

Weed Literary: Queried 4/22, and have never heard anything back. 

WM Clark Associates: Queried 4/23. Rejected 4/29. 

Wordserve Literary: Queried 4/24. Rejected 4/24. It is no surprise that I received a same-day rejection from this agency. This is yet another agency I failed to research as much as I should have. In fact, I’m really surprised I queried them at all because they clearly state that they are a Christian-based agency. My novel is not rooted in spirituality of any kind, and there are drugs, sex, and violence within the text. So…yeah. Once again, do your damn research!

Writers House: Queried 4/24, and have never heard anything back. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fuck you, revision!

I’ve decided that the chances of me giving up on this book during the revision process are a lot more likely than the chances that I would have given up during the initial draft.

Seriously. Revision sucks.

I find myself constantly amazed by how many errors I find and by how much needs to be fixed. Isn’t the work supposed to get better with each draft? I’m on page 37 of draft #4, and I just want to chuck it into the trash bin.

HOW did I miss all this shit the first time? It is so bad that I had to go back and make sure I’d printed off the right draft, which brings me to another question–how much drafting am I supposed to do before I send it off? At this point, it feels like it will never be ready, and I know that no matter how many times I read it, I’ll always find something wrong. I’m not the kind of writer who can look at anything she’s written and think, “Yep. That’s perfect.”

So how will I know?

I don’t want to start querying agents before its ready, but I don’t want to butcher the thing. There is such a thing as too much revision. 

WHERE IN THE HELL IS THE HAPPY MEDIUM??

I bought a new bra over the weekend, and it is squeezing me just a little tighter than I’m comfortable with. I think that’s the problem. Maybe I’ll be able to figure something out once the blood flow returns to the upper half of my body.

Since, you know, that’s where my brain is.

 

The day the spin cycle died

My washing machine broke on Saturday.

I was just sure that my father, who can fix anything, could come over and get it going again just like magic. NOPE. My poor washing machine has finally bitten the dust. She served me well, really, so I can’t be mad at her. I bought the set used back in 2008 from some girl who lived in a house I was getting ready to rent. She was taking her damn sweet time moving out, and she pretty much told me that she’d be out two days earlier if she didn’t have to move her washer, dryer, and the massive chest of drawers she had in the house. But she’d be more than happy to leave them there for me…for a price.

I bought them, and they’ve worked great over the last few years. That washer has seen her fair share of crap…literally. I have a two year old and four dogs, plus a husband.

Like I said–I can’t be mad. Instead, I’ll be making a trip to the appliance store on my way home from work.

It’s just par for the course during the month of February. A couple of posts ago I mentioned that the house we’re living in is being sold, that my son was sick, and that my husband had to have new brakes on his car. Well, now MY car needs new breaks, my mother-in-law has shingles, and my washing machine is broken.

FEBRUARY SUCKS.

That’s all there is to it. It always has, and it always will. For now, I’m just going to laugh about it, because if I don’t I’ll go insane.

I didn’t get any editing done over the weekend. I’m going to try and wait until I get a few more critiques. But I have printed off the newest draft. I spent a good deal of my time going through the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents, which I highly recommend to anyone trying to find representation. I realize I’m not really in any position to be giving advice, but just in case you were looking for some–there ya go. I have been going through the book with three highlighters and a system (pictured below). I’m highlighting the agencies I think would be best suited to receive my work in pink, second place agencies get yellow, and third place get green. After I’ve gone through the book, I’ll start researching the agencies online (if they have a website) and I’ll find the agent within the agency that is mostly likely to be interested in my work. From there, I’ll begin to tailor my query letter to that agent.

It takes my mind off the impending doom of writing another draft. And maybe if I just sit still in one location it’ll be at least a few hours before anything else goes wrong. :-/

Image

I received the first critique of my novel yesterday. It was so enlightening! I won’t lie–it helped that the reader (whom I don’t even know, might I add) liked the story. She was positive, but at the same time gave me lots of helpful feedback. She asked questions about story flow in a few parts. She asked about parts of the story that didn’t make sense or presented a problem for her as she read. Some of these things I’d also noticed, and it was good to know that other readers are going to pick up on these things as well.

I still have lots of work to do. 

But I’m encouraged. 

I wanted to share with you one of the positive things my reader wrote:

I was enthralled enough with the story that when it was time to leave work yesterday I considered emailing myself the copy that I had been making comments on so that I could continue reading and commenting. I actually had to tear myself away and finish the story this morning. For me that is the ultimate sign of whether something “good” or not.

This has been a ridiculous week. I am emotionally and physically drained. But I’m also feeling energized to jump back into my story and flesh out a few of those problem areas.

It’s time to go and buy a new pen.

 

Performance Enhancing Toddlers

You’ve not lived until you’ve been at home all day with a croupy kid hopped up on steroids. 

Seriously. 

I was hiding in the bathroom after my husband got home from work when it occurred to me that I haven’t updated in a couple of days. I do have a pretty good excuse, though. This was my weekend in a nutshell (and in chronological order)

1) On Saturday the owners of the house that my family has been living in for two years informed us that they were selling and that we had to buy or be out by May.

2) I tried to submit my novel for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel contest and the competition was already closed. 

3) We spent most of early Monday morning (from midnight on) in the ER with our two year old. He has Croup, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t too scary, but he has a lot of respiratory issues–issues the pediatrician calls “asthmatic tendencies”–and so any little thing can turn into a big problem…fast. 

4) Aforementioned two year old was given a high dose of steroids and banned from daycare until tomorrow. 

5) It isn’t payday until tomorrow. 

So…yeah, it has been a stressful few days, and I’ve spent nearly all my time browsing houses for sale in my area and hanging out with a miniature version of Lance Armstrong.

I have gotten a few things done, though. I sent out a draft of my novel to about 15-20 readers, which makes me really, really nervous. I know most of them, but I’m close friends with only a few of them. I’m really hoping for some usable criticism, but I’m worried that they: 

A) Won’t like it

B) Won’t be critical for fear they’ll hurt my feelings

C) Won’t respond at all

D) Won’t like it

I’m really worried that they won’t like it. I mean, OF COURSE, I’m worried about that. I read all the time about writers who are so in love with their books that they can’t handle criticism. Or they are so thin-skinned that they can’t handle criticism.

I’m just genuinely afraid that my book sucks. 

Tonight, after I put Mommy’s Little Monster to bed, I’m going to begin the daunting task of going through the 2013 Guide to Literary Agents. I’ll be spending the next few days (or weeks) with my Kindle app, a notebook, and some highlighters. I’ll be researching and researching agents and agencies that might be interested in representing me about 100 drafts from now. 

But right now I’m going to go fill a dropper full of cough medicine and hope for the best. 

 

Programs, Schmograms

I’m convinced that being a writer and trying to write according to the books is like trying be pregnant according to the books. I had to become illiterate while I was pregnant just to keep my blood pressure at a normal level. Everything I read was a warning about gestational diabetes or a terrifying story about some weird genetic defect that was going to leave my baby with twelve toes on one foot.

And that Moonpie in your hand? Forget about eating that.

You’ll chomp on a celery stick and like it.

Earlier I updated about a great app I downloaded. Really, it is pretty cool. Then this morning I downloaded yWriter on my laptop. A few days ago I downloaded a trial version of Scrivener.

I’m just trying to get a feel for this crap…er, programs…the books keep suggesting we writers use.

I want to maximize my effectiveness/success/awesomeness

And I want to look professional. I want to look less like the amateur the books keep telling me I am.

But I swear, some of these programs are more difficult to understand than my college chemistry class (it was HARD, people). It’s like my brain just doesn’t work that way. There are all of these choices and all of these buttons, and I’m finding myself very overwhelmed and very frustrated.

I have all these ideas and things I want to write down for my newest story, but I can’t muddle through the programs to get it accomplished. Even as much as I like the iPad app–there are still parts of it that I find irritating. I’m considering just buying a new notebook and drafting my outline that way. It isn’t the most sophisticated method, but I think it is the only one that will allow me to keep my sanity.

Do any of you use a program that you love? Do you have any tips on navigating Scrivener or yWriter?