Monday, June 20, 2011

Into The Trenches

I'm going to send out some queries today. Maybe. Probably. Yes. Well.... YES. Okay.

I'm nervous. But it's more an I-don't-know-what-will-happen-now sort of nervous. I'm pretty sure some agents will like my book, I'm just a little scared that they won't LOVE it enough to represent it.

On the flip side, I'm actually quite excited to send my book out. I probably won't have a heart attack. It was scarier sending the ms to my crit partners, because they were the first people EVER to read it. Now I've taken their feedback and made the book even harder/better/faster/stronger. (Yeah, I'm listening to Daft Punk to get pumped up.)

So. Into the query trenches I go.

Why does it feel like I'm heading into war? I need some face paint and a spear. RAWR.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Now What?

I finished my final revisions. All of them. The book is done DONE. So I'm setting it aside for a week (at least) and then I'll do one last read through and ship it off.

...And then what? I've spent hours every single day for the last 8 months working on this book or thinking of this book or just generally being consumed by this book. And now it's done. It's such a strange feeling. When I was revising I could make plans, I could write "fix chapter 36" on my calendar and then do it. It just feels weird writing "relax" on my calendar and then sitting around anxiously because I've got to relax! the calendar says so! but I can't! Aurughh.

Anyway. You know when you have a story idea, but when you start typing it down it's just not coming together the way it does in your head? In your head it's all shiny and perfect but on paper it is... not. Well, it didn't start out that way, but I've finally molded this book into the best representation of my intangible shiny story idea.

So of course it's doubly terrifying. Because what if people still don't like it? And also, how on earth am I going to do it all again?

I think I'm on the right track. Actually, I've been really strangely productive lately. I don't know if the stars are aligned right or Mercury is in retrograde* or maybe someone's just been spiking my coffee with Productive Juice (which sounds kinda weird and gross, so I'm not use that term ever again.)

The point is this: Yesterday was my first day of vacation after finishing. And I spent the day reading Red Glove and writing 1K words on a new project. So I guess that's the kind of thing I'm going to do now. I'm cool with that.

*I looked it up. Mercury is not in retrograde, and also, when Mercury is in retrograde it has something to do with communications becoming confused or jumbled, so it's probably not a contributing factor to my productivity. It was neat though, because I learned what 'retrograde' meant. Did you guys know planets move backwards and stuff?? Wild.

Monday, June 6, 2011

One Week

I'm a planner. I find I just work better with a specific order of tasks. Maybe it's all the years of juggling last minute homework assignments (I can do math during biology, English during math, and then I'll ditch gym to do this psych report). Maybe it's all the years of working in a restaurant (I need to greet table 21, put in this order, drop off this bill, then bring ranch to table 11.) It's kind of become a habit at this point.

But I don't always stick to the plans. It's just a security thing. It's like the way I outline-- I need to start with a map showing me how to get from point A to point B. But if I leave point A and find a different better route along the way, you bet I'm taking it. The plan isn't set in stone. It's just something to fall back on if needed.

(I also plan other things, like what I would use as a weapon in the zombie apocalypse, or what window would be the best to jump from if the front door was on fire.)(I don't know why the front door is on fire. Maybe I pissed off my neighbors. Or maybe it was the zombies! They're evolving, adapting. We're gonna need bigger weapons.)

Anyway. I also plan my writing schedule. My old plan was:
1) Final revisions off beta feedback
2) Final read
3) Query

My new plan?
1) Final revisions off beta feedback
2) Pause
3) Final read
4) Query

I don't want to rush. Two years ago I queried my first ms before it was ready. Even though it's a very well known piece of advice-- DON'T QUERY UNTIL YOU'RE READY. (DUH.)

I guess it was just one of those things I had to learn myself, experience myself. It was my first completed ms. I wanted so badly to get it out there! I queried with the hope that an agent would see beyond its flaws and offer rep and help me fix it. And every time an agent requested a partial or full, I would spend the day re-reading and editing before sending it off.

Um. Yeah. I was kinda clueless.

This time when I query, I'm going to be totally sure that what I'm sending out is the best thing I can send out.

And right now I'm feeling like it's really close. I'm excited about it. I'm confident about it. I'll finish my final revisions, I'll polish it and make it shine and get it to the point that I would query it.

And then I'll put it aside for a week. One week. Then after a week of not thinking about the ms, I'll do a final read. My goal is to do this final read and not feel compelled to change anything. If I can do that, then I'll be ready.

One week.

It's not a long time, but I think it's just enough of a pause to be sure.

I mean, I've already spent eight months on the thing. I can wait one more week.

Now I just have to come up with a plan for that week of waiting. I'm thinking it will involve reading books. Lots and lots and lots of books. Yeah. Good plan.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Query Brain

I have written 372 query drafts and I might just have one now. Isn't that EXCITING?? (Well the part about being done, not the part about how freaking long it took.)

But yeah, that's what I've been doing all day. And now I am suffering from Query Brain, which is a very serious condition. Basically, it makes you think in queries.

My boyfriend says he's going to take a walk, and I reply that I don't understand his motivation. Can he make it more clear?

My mom wants to go to lunch but doesn't know where, and I just don't think that's a compelling enough choice to stand out in the slush pile.

And then I drink coffee, and more coffee, and end up chatting with my crit partner Ina who helped me turn my life into a query. This is what we came up with:

Kat is an aspiring author who loves to tell stories. But when she meets Ina, a grumpy Norwegian girl who hates 1st person present tense stories, Kat's whole world is turned on its head. Armed with coffee, a dream, and a new Macbook, Kat sets out on a journey to write the best 1st person present tense YA novel ever, and prove to Ina that it can be done.

Kat knows she needs one more pass of revision before Ina will approve, and she desperately wants to print out the ms and see it on paper. She'll have to figure out the mysterious and crappy printer and somehow make it work or she'll be stuck reading her entire manuscript on a computer screen. Kat must also grapple with the fact that she's not as funny as she believes she is, or she'll be sorely disappointed when she realizes that she is the only one laughing.

If she fails, Ina's wrath will be unleashed in the form of never-before-heard similes and Kat will forever be forced to write in third person. Can Kat figure out the printer? Is it even possible? Or will she just have some Cheetos and attempt revising on the computer?

KAT'S LIFE is a work in progress, and therefore not yet complete. I believe KAT'S LIFE will appeal to one person, Kat's mom (and maybe not even her).

Thank you for your time and consideration.

I'm pretty sure the middle paragraph needs some work, and I'm just not sure the stakes are high enough.

*Sigh* Back to the drawing board, I suppose...

ETA 7:36 PM:
KAT'S LIFE spoiler alert-- after 2 hours of slamming her face against the wall, Kat successfully hooks up the printer and prints her entire ms! HUZZAH!