Friday, January 16, 2009

One Down, 18 to Go! or Blessing in Disguise

One Down, 18 To Go!
The "pass" I received from an astute agent this week was nothing more than a blessing in disguise. (Which just happens to be the name of a song I wrote many years ago.) She said she loves the idea and my pitch, but the first three chapters didn't grab her like she wanted them to. She also said the pacing was a bit slow and felt I was telling instead of showing. And, you know what? She's absolutely right.

In response to her critique, I sent out my first chapter to some friends and family and have gotten back some more extraordinary advice. I think part of my problem stems from my addiction, and I'm not talking about wine or chocolate. Those aren't addictions, they're necessities. I'm talking about editing, remember? I took too much out. I was so caught up in making sure I didn't have more back story than necessary, that I ended up with not enough. Plus, as my dear friend, Amy pointed out several weeks back, I need to "puff up" the scenes and dialogue to keep the reader totally engaged and the story as interesting as possible.

So, now I'm going through my chapters one by one puffing them up, adding tantalizing details, and perhaps even bringing back some of the "dead babies" from my nearly 30K words in my "Outtakes" document. As you might be able to gleam from the title to this post, there are currently 19 chapters in my book. I worked all day today on number one. I will take at least a full day on each of the remaining chapters and then read the book, yet again, from front to back. Once I feel the first three chapters are as perfect as I'm going to get them (for now!), I'll send out more queries. I'll also re-contact said agent, since she was kind enough to say I could.

Like I told my sister earlier today, if I'm lucky, I'll have the book done by the time I'm 85. And, by then, I'll have many more interesting stories to tell!

Mom Update
Mom had surgery (again) today. Her last surgery was in October. She has had two staff infections since then and has never fully regained her sparkling, vibrant energy. Hopefully, this surgery (removal of expanders that were put in for reconstruction purposes) will relieve her pain, end the infections, and lead her again to optimal health. Since your thoughts and prayers worked brilliantly for the safe return of Dusty (which I'm still so grateful for I could cry) I am again requesting them for my mom. Thanks in advance. You guys rock! (Picture above is me and my mom after finishing our 5k On Deck for The Cure walk on our Princess Panama Canal Cruise last March.)

Collectively you are my angels, which made me think of a song Chuck and I wrote several years ago called, Rooftops. (Just click on the song, "Rooftops" when you get to the Karma Chain site.) When you listen to it, know it's from me to you. (FYI: My stage name is Jamie Keys.) If you'd like a free copy of the song to download, just let me know your e-mail address and I'll be happy to send it to you.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Goll-dang! I was expecting a girl with a Mr. Microphone type experience with the song, but it was pro-fessional!

You have hit the nail on the head with counting that big agent blessing, and I'm so happy for you.

Prayers for mommy.

Anita said...

Sounds like a good plan for your book...and what a great thing that the agent is willing to take a second look...he/she sees some magic in you!

I'll be thinking of your mom.

Joanne said...

There's always something to be learned from Agent responses. And even getting a response and critique to a partial shows there is merit in your writing. Congrats, and I like your positive attitude. Edit on, and keep it rocking :)

Prayers and best wishes for your Mom's speedy recovery. Hope all is well.

Big Plain V said...

I think you are maybe the first person I've ever heard of that cut too much.

That makes you, um... 'unique'.

DebraLSchubert said...

Angie, Thank you darlin'. We've kinda sorta been doing it for like a REALLY long time. (How's that for some darn good writing?) And thanks for your prayers...

Anita, Thanks for the kind words and thoughts for mom. And thanks for your support of my writing.

Joanne, I think her suggestions were right on, and I always appreciate constructive criticism. It's the not-so-constructive kind I'm not real fond of. Thanks for the prayers and wishes for mom.

Ray, Unique is one word for me. I think my husband might choose, I don't know, high maintenance maybe? (I know that's two. I can count.) Come to think of it, my parents and sisters might choose that as well. My kids? They'd pick wonderful! (My kids are so smart!)

Elizabeth said...

Ya, I'm like that too. I want to get the story out clearly that I forget the magical beautiful details. Like a pretty face with no makeup.
I'm waiting to hear back from 5 agents I've sent my query out to. Nothin' so far.

DebraLSchubert said...

Elizabeth, I love the pretty face with no make-up analogy. And best of luck w/the queries! Please keep me posted. I'm definitely rooting for you!

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