Tag Archives: writing advice

On Waiting to Hear Back from Agents.

I’ve written posts about querying and even work-shopped a few for authors ready to submit their MS—which was tons of fun by-the-way—but today I want to dig into the painstakingly long WAIT that is involved once you query and (hopefully) once an agent requests a partial or full.

I finished my book project on April 29th, 2015. By finished I mean that it had been read by others and critiqued by a professional and all revisions were complete. It was a finished, polished, edited manuscript. These are the ONLY kind you should be submitting to agents. If no one else has put his or her eyeholes on your work, you might want to fix that. Find a beta reader, hire a freelance editor, do something to get another’s feedback. If you send an MS that has too many hiccups in the first few paragraphs, or even chapters, chances for rejection are high. I can’t stress how important it is to submit a pristine MS. This is not something I’m just saying. I know from experience.

I’VE MADE THESE MISTAKES SO THAT YOU DON’T HAVE TO! Please learn from me. Learn from this post. I’m writing it for a reason. I want you to succeed!

Okay, done with that. Let’s get to it.

As I was saying, on April 29th I submitted my MS to one agent. This was a situational circumstance and it’s perfectly fine to submit to more than one agent. So, after I sent my MS out, I freaked. I was so scared and excited and…scared. My heart pounded and all I could do was think about someone (someone who could potentially represent me) reading my work. This is maddening! I didn’t write for three days. I couldn’t concentrate. I constantly checked my email and, well I was just a mess. So, I decided to tear my house apart and give it the good cleaning it deserved.

Soon though, my house was clean and I still hadn’t heard back from this agent. So I did what a serious writer does and got back to work. I found that letting go and continuing to write was actually more distracting than cleaning. And it felt good to work on a new book project. And it felt good to not be cleaning. But 20k words into my new project and still no word from the agent. It had been almost a month. (I told you this stuff takes time). Instead of worrying about it, I just decided to query more agents. Increase my chances. Give my MS to more agents who were seeking its genre. (This is very important. Make sure you research agents before submitting. You don’t want to submit YA fantasy to an agent who is seeking non-fiction historical works or some such thingy). Here are my stats, and I use https://querytracker.net to help organize it.

As of June12th, I’ve queried eleven agents.

Rejections: 3

Partial requests: 2

Still out: 6

Full requests: Still waiting on the full from April.

See? This is the progress of three months. It’s slow. Like a snail moving backward on a turtle, slow. But that’s the process. Like I said above, I’m still waiting on the full request from April. This agent hasn’t rejected my MS, they just haven’t gotten to it yet.

So enjoy that you have a manuscript out in the wild. That’s a huge accomplishment! Pat yourself on the back and then…GET BACK TO WRITING ANOTHER BOOK!!!!

And here is a cute monkey picture.

.9c3c39b4d6417e5c5c0ce760ee69e971-2

The Word “Poop” is in This Post. You’re Welcome.

I sat down this morning to write. Whoa, before I get ahead of myself, let me recap the morning.

I woke up promptly at 7:23 a.m.

I let the dog out to pee.

I let myself out to pee.

I made coffee.

I walked into my office.

I sat down to write.

Details of morning happenings complete.

I’ve been working on a new book project (WIP- work in progress) for about three weeks. It’s a different genre than what I normally write—SF/F—so, I was stupid excited when I started it. I played with some plot ideas for the first few days, and then landed on a solid direction. About 10k into the project, I decided I didn’t like the environment/setting/character development (all the essential crap for creating a great story, or, at least, a plausible one.)

So, I scrapped it.

Ouch. And F yeah it hurt! But, I said to myself, “Listen crybaby. It’s only 10K. Get your thumb out of your mouth and begin again!”

So, I brought out my dry erase board and scribble away on it until I was loopy on marker fumes. This process (fun as it was) took precious writing time from me, but I ended up with an even better angle. A super awesome, make your head spin, hell of a twist, angle.

I was stoked.

I was ready to write again. Or so I thought.

In the chair, blank page and flashing cursor staring back at me, I realized I wasn’t quite ready to throw down words.

I had a problem with the location of my story and the setting. So, I did what any writer would do, (Hey! Get out of the corner and lose the security blanket.) I opened Google and started researching a new place. I had one in mind, so I started there. I searched the first area through the town’s website. I researched the community, the police department, the SCENE (you know, it’s most important), the nearby university, and local restaurants and such. I even did a real estate search to find a home in the area I could visualize while writing. That was actually a reverse process. I had an idea of what I wanted the home to look like and where I wanted it. It just so happened that the first house that popped up matched it perfectly. So, I took virtual tours and researched the immediate area the home was built on, side roads, nearest neighbors, you get the picture.

Once I felt like I had a grip on my character’s world, I begin with the wordage again. This time, (up to last night’s work, precisely) I reached nearly 8K. I was happy to have a new direction and be almost back to my drop off point from the earlier draft.

Then, this morning happened.

I sat down to write, and my love for the project had vanished. Even as I write this blog post (which BTW, the whole disappearing love thing is why I’m writing this post and not working on my book project) I have no desire to continue with my WIP.

This is new to me. I’ve completed three novels this far and I’ve not felt this way about any of them. Sure, I had writer’s block a few times, but that’ different. Or is it? I don’t know.

But, I also know that I don’t just let days go without writing something, anything. It keeps me in practice. It helps me short crap out. In a way, this post is doing just that. It’s sorting my poop-coiled brain.

poop brain

While I don’t know if this project will see completion, I’m not devastated. I have other book ideas/sequels to write, and this is a great time to get those started.

If you guys have experienced this, I’d love to hear your story. How did you handle the story divorce? Did you ever rekindle your relationship? Or, did you post nasty things about it on the Internets so that no one else would date your story? My biggest question is… did you ever get your CDs back????

BUST THAT QUERY STRAIGHT IN THE FACE!

This week was the release of my newest book, Blood Soaked Ashes. It’s book two of The Eramane Saga, and I can’t wait to share this segment of the story with my readers. Publishing this second book has been an amazing experience. I owe much thanks to the lovely ladies that worked closely with me on this. My editors are amazing and my cover artist is a genius. Enough about that. Go get the book! Ok, now that you’ve gone and supported my habit, we can move forward. I am a few days away from finishing up a project that I will be submitting to agents. This manuscript has been on my desktop for a year and a half, and I’m excited about its potential. But what I’m totally stoked about is that I actually have a solid query for it. What does that mean, solid? As opposed to what? Haven’t you been sending outstanding queries, Frankie? Well, I thought I had. I thought I had the best queries that had ever been written and “Why the hell weren’t the agents biting?!” I mean, I had researched what other authors posted as their queries on their websites, and I had read countless articles on ALL.THE.SITES., and I had several rejection emails that offered some friendly advice on what did and didn’t work. I was the master query writer. So “Why the hell weren’t the agents biting?!” I had no answer as to why my queries were being rejected. For almost two years I battled back and forth with this question. But then I decided to seek expert advice. I reached out to my small network of author acquaintances and humbly asked for help. And I got it. And it kept coming and doors kept opening and finally after re-working my query I ended up with a “fantastic” one. (Yeah, that’s an air-quote.) And once I read the final, kick ass version, it was like a light bulb (like one of those coiled hazmat ones) exploded above my head. Der! How simple. How extremely f-ing simple you nerf-hearding ding dong. Yes, I can be hard on myself. But that’s what we authors do. We have to. If we don’t push ourselves and force our perspective in the right direction, no one else will. So, to celebrate my enlightenment, and the release of Blood Soaked Ashes, I would like to offer free query critiques to the first TWO WRITERS OF YOUNG ADULT FICTION that respond. I want to help you find your light bulb. SERIOUS ENTRIES ONLY. PLEASE READ!! PREFERENCES AND STIPULATIONS: Queries for young-adult fiction only please. All genres welcome. Your manuscript should be completed so that you can build a thorough query and essentially a synopsis, which is often required by agents. But before you submit what you think is a good start, check out this website for a well-rounded structure as to what a query should look like. Check out this website for a good example. If yours is already formatted like this, then go ahead and request a critique in the comment area. Make sure you offer the genre and word count and briefly describe the plot. If your query fits my simple and limited requirements, I’ll reply with how you can submit your query to me, and how the process will work. Keep in mind that this is a free critique. It is not in any way an edit, nor will I re-write the query. It’s free author advice, and I’m glad to help. This offer is no longer available.

From turd, to TADA! Polishing the Manuscript.

Manuscripts need to be polished. You know what else can be polished? A TURD! Watch it on MythBusters.

I digress.

The crap that makes up the first draft of a novel should never be published for your readers. Unless you are some magical wielder of words who makes no mistakes in which case, CONGRATS BRO!

I’m a firm believer that the first draft should be well tended just as the final draft should be. Passion and focus are important in all stages of writing. But we all know that the first draft has tons of awful bits we don’t want our readers laying their precious eye holes on. This is why an experienced editor should have their way with the MS before its published.

I’m neck deep in edits right now. I have had my MS critiqued and edited for content (which is the stage I’m working on now) and once that is complete, my precious will be sent to a copy editor for finishing touches, you know, punctuation and grammar type things.

Why two editors, Frankie?

Editors come in all shapes and sizes (because they are human after all) and it’s a lot of work to pluck out all the horrific blunders an author makes whilst typing in the wee hours, eyes propped open with toothpicks like Tom’s when he stalking that clever little Jerry. I am working with two who each specialize in different scopes of the editing field. I’m not saying that one editor doesn’t have the capacity to hook your MS up proper, of course there are talented editors out there that can do that. But having more than one also puts more eyes on your MS. That is never a bad thing, yeah?

As I said, I’m in the editing process now with the second book of The Eramane Saga. My content editor ripped me a new b-hole, in a good way. This has opened me up to ideas that have enhanced my work, and forced me to rewrite nearly three chapters. Complete rewrites people! Three Chapters! Ugh! It sucked!

But I did it. And I’m so glad I did, because Blood Soaked Ashes is melding into the story I didn’t know it could be. That’s what good editors do. Your baby, that precious doc of 80k? 90k? 120k words, deserves to be dissected and picked apart and polished. But, unlike a turd, the finished MS should not smell. Unless you handled it after you polished and actual turd.

In a nutshell, before you publish, make sure it’s edited! Professionally! By someone who isn’t you!

Okay, I’ll stop exclaiming.

ASIDE RANT. I don’t want to leave anyone hangin’. Editors don’t work for free. And it’s difficult to find editors that take unsolicited submissions. I get that. If you’re not in the spot to work with professional editors at the moment, try finding online critique partner/s/groups. Participate in the NaNoWriMo and join forums that can hook you up with others willing to dish their opinion on your writing skillz. There is a plethora of resources out there for finding other writers who would love to critique your work. FYI, you are probably going to have to critique theirs too. Even tradesies. (That’s my non-word of the day.) And here is an article that describes types of critique partners/groups to avoid. Here is just another helpful link.

Shout out to SubItClub. You have lots o resources for writers! That’s awesome!

 

 

 

I’m so fancy…and so on

redesign

Hello to every person who happens to stop in and read this!!

I have been hard at work, can’t you see? I hooked my site up so that your eyes don’t dry out and fall from their sockets whilst you are visiting…ain’t it pretty!!!

It took lots of time and research to learn the ins and outs of WordPress, but I think I did a good job, and more importantly I feel the site represents me and not just my work.

So, in the near future, I will post about how I did this redesign, and hopefully give some good advice to those who need it. For those of you who are far superior in your techness, leave a reply and learn me something. To the rest of you who might be first timers leave questions and I will do my best to point you in the right direction.

Starting up a site is tough (like putting out a campfire with your face) and I’ve only been at it for fourteen months, but if you are determined, as I ams, then you’ll eventually overcome the crazies of creating your own website/blog/home away from home/…

 

So What’s The Fuss About Scrivener?

I’ve been debating on using this software, until I came across this post on Fantasy Faction. I’m going to give it a try. I’ll report back if there are survivors.

Review of Scrivener, the word processor for writers.

via So What’s The Fuss About Scrivener?.

“I’m curious as a cat, that’s why my friends call me Whiskers”

will ferrell

 

If you guys remember that Saturday Night Live skit from Will Ferrell and Jeff Goldblum…awesome! If not, watch it here before reading this post. No, it’s not insightful, or even necessary for you to watch before continuing on. It’s just that’s it’s so freakin’ funny and I weep for those who haven’t laughed their pants off watching it.

Done? Ok.

So, as I said…I’m ever curious, always researching and because of this kitty cat characteristic (say that five times fast) I have stumbled upon yet another beneficial writer’s site.

Beth Revis, author of Across the Universe, has a Reddit hangout, YA writers, and I go there from time to time, check out what peeps are asking, offer my opinion, and leave. But today, a post is up and it offers authors an opportunity that I feel is extremely important, manuscript critiques!

But it’s not just any critique site, it’s operated by YA authors! How awesome is that!? They have a website that offers services for manuscript critique, editing services, and query development.

It’s super important to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before submitting to an agent, and this site is your one-stop-shop for doing just that, (gah what a cliché…apologies) and you know the quality of work is Grade A, prime cut, FDA approved, wait! I’m pretty sure I’m wrong about that one, you get my drift. These gals know their bizz and any author wanting to perfect their manuscript before submission would do their work a great service by at least checking it out.