Friday, February 29, 2008

ZOMG, and Wootness! of the two queries I sent last night turned into a partial request today!

I...I'm speechless! Well, ok, not speechless, because obviously there are words coming out of my mouth. (fingers?) I mean, it's what you hope for, but wow, I spent all last night and today trying to brace myself for rejection!

In fact, when I got home tonight and saw the reply e-mail there, I thought "Crap, that rejection was fast." So I went about my business doing other things for about half an hour, without ever opening the e-mail. Then...I opened it... And then I had to spend the NEXT half hour explaining to my kiddo why I was screaming and jumping up and down. (it's clear that five-year-olds don't truly grasp the concept of the publishing process, but she was happy when she realized that I was happy)

Ok, I'm going to go squee a little more, and then buckle down and do some more querying. Because that's what I'm supposed to do at this stage. Eggs and baskets and things.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I Did It

I submitted my very first query today.

Excuse me while I go throw up or faint or something...

Edited to add: No, I still didn't get the synopsis done. I chose an agent who doesn't want one right off the bat. (Somehow, that feels almost like cheating)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mullings on the Defunct

So, I've been zooming my way through Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series (why on EARTH did I wait so long to read these?!?!?!), and it has put me in the mood to look over Project 1. You remember project 1. The thing I swore I was nearly done with, only to abandon it completely and move on to a younger, prettier project. Yeah, that one.

So during excessive downtime today at work, I started re-reading some of the snippets I have saved...pretty much everywhere. And really, it's not as hideous as I remember. I can easily pick out the pieces that ARE, and they're all the first pieces I wrote years ago. But the more recent stuff I worked on, just before shelving the whole thing, really isn't bad.

Granted, it needs plot work. But I think fixing the plot is going to involve writing new pieces, and making cosmetic changes on old pieces. I don't think I'll have to actually scrap too much. That makes me like...ahead, right?

Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Synopsis

Many agents ask for a synopsis of the novel when you submit to them. It seems to vary as to what length they want, but the general idea is the same.

So I set out last night to write a one page synopsis of Project 2. By the time I was done, it was three pages. This was just the dry bare bones summary of plot events (which isn't precisely what a synopsis should be). Now, I have to try and go back through and tell the story again using the same voice as the novel, AND shorten it to one page. This is hard! There's so much I want to say about it (hence the 315pages of novel), it's difficult to distill that down into a few key paragraphs.

If I can get the synopsis presentable, I might actually get up the guts to send out my first submission soon. I guess I've reached that sink or swim point.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Oh, and...

If anyone was wondering, the water main break was finally fixed last night (12 days after it started) and my basement has begun the slow process of drying out. However, the repair crew did drive a backhoe through my water-logged yard, so now I have ruts the size of the Grand Canyon. I just can't win.

Riddle me this...

So, I spent the day tweaking my query letter. I have to say that I'm much happier with its current incarnation than I have been with the previous ones. Not quite sure if it's done, though. (of course, I could also be just procrastinating out of sheer terror)

But it got me to wondering... I have a list of agents I want to submit to. Got about 35 of them on there at the moment, but of course there are a few up at the pinnacle top of the list labelled "dream agents". All writers have at least one, from the discussions I've heard.

Now, when I begin this process of querying, should I send the query out to a few random ones on my list first (in case the letter isn't as good as I think it is), or should I immediately query the "dream agents", with the risk of getting shot down early due to faulty query? Or should I just send out all 35 queries at once and let the cards fall where they may? I live in constant fear that my novel will be rejected based on the query alone (which would devastate me) instead of on the merits of the book (which would make more sense).

Yes, this is the kind of obsessive stuff I deal with on a daily basis. Aren't you glad you aren't in my head?

Monday, February 18, 2008

A River Runs Through It

It being my yard, driveway, basement, and apparently also the neighbor's septic tank and the parking lot of the church behind us. Yes, the water main is still broken, still gushing, though Friday night, some very enterprising young man did spend two hours painting colorful marks on the street and posting little orange flags in my yard. (y'know, the yard that is now technically lakefront property)

And, as part of the neuroses that makes me me, I am of course completely stressed out about a situation I can do nothing about. I am at the mercy of the monopoly that is our water services department.

The downside being that the stress has effectively neutered me (spayed me?) creatively. Project 2 is out to readers, and the query letter is enough to make me commit seppuku. Projects 3 through 5 are at a screeching standstill, and I'm not even sure why. They're just not...alive in my head like I think they ought to be. If this is one of those writerly things I'm supposed to work through, I wish someone would tell me. I even went back last night and re-read most of my work on Project 1 (which is still living on a farm with a nice family that loves it), and just couldn't find that spark to start working again.

I should probably sit down and read something. Reading always seems to kindle something in my creative bone. But even then, I look at the huge stacks of waiting-to-be-read books, and it kind of overwhelms me, so I finally walk away without choosing anything.

Maybe I just need to accept that I'm on a small break, and quit fretting.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Real Life Trumps All

As I do battle with the city over the river running through my basement... I find I have little urge to write anything except very nasty and vitriolic diatribes about beauracracy.

And I think I used up all my nine point words there.

I did some word spew yesterday (I refuse to call it writing) on project 5. It's not good. It's not even bad. It's horrendous. But I did it with the aim of learning more about what kind of person my main character is, and what kind of world she lives in. A million years down the road, when I get this one going full tilt, I have no idea if the 3300 words I wrote will still be in it. But it's helping me wrap my brain around the idea.

Friday, February 8, 2008

It's Friday, I'm in love...

It was the last song I heard on the radio before I got out of the car tonight. So sue me.

I printed out the most recent version of Project 2 for my own uses, and sent it to Chie, Theo, Kat and Haka again. I swear, saints walk among us, and they are my beta-readers. I can't believe these wonderful people have been willing to read this muck not once, not twice, but multiple times. I will never be able to repay them, even if I one day become as rich as J.K. Rowling.

And other than that, I didn't touch it at all. It felt GOOD to done. Even temporarily. I worked instead on chapter outlines for Project 3, at least until lunch put me in a food coma.

I have no idea what my plans for this weekend are, but it feels almost like a mini-vacation!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

70K Bay-bee!

70,029 to be precise! Woot! I know it's not my original 80K goal, but it's something I'd be willing to at least try submitting.

I feel like I've run a marathon. I can tell you, this is NOT how I want to write future books. I would rather write 50K words LONGER than I need and have to cut stuff, than to do this skimping and scraping for word count again. I'm not quite sure how to prevent it, but I'm going to give it my best shot.

Join in with me: Say no to short first drafts! Say no to short first drafts!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Witty Title Here

I'm too tired tonight to be witty.

On the up side, I had another sleep-induced inspiration (seriously, I need to contemplate sleeping all the time) for yet another detail to add to the story. This is something that will have multiple occurrences through the manuscript which equals more words. Yay!

I'm hoping to get those details finished in the next few days, then I want to step back and look it all over again. Might even print it out again. I hate to "waste" the money, but seeing it in hard copy form really is helpful.

70K words is not only feasible, but easily obtainable, at this point. I know I said I'd be content if I hit that mark, but a small part of me keeps saying "But if you hit 70K, 80K isn't that much further..." Nasty evil head voices.

I realized today that I have added 30,000 words since my very spare first draft. This makes me feel good. If I can do that, I can do anything.

I can do this!