Friday, December 4, 2009

Little by Little All Your Sweet Dreams Really Do Come True

A few months ago I went to see the Australian phenomenon Tommy Emmanuel play guitar. Let me rephrase. A few months ago I went to see Tommy Emmanuel elevate guitar playing to a level I never thought imaginable.

One of the stories he told involved the phrase, "Little by little all your sweet dreams come true." When he said it, I was transformed. I couldn't get the phrase out of my head, nor did I want to. I changed the layout of my blog the next day to reflect this amazing and inspiring saying. I refer to it often at the top of my blog page, and I believe it with all my heart and soul.

My writing dreams are beginning to come true, and I'm deeply grateful and humbled. I promised I'd write about what it feels like to receive your first Editorial Notes from your shiny new agent and sign your first (and hopefully, only!) agent/author contract, and I do my best to fulfill my promises. So, here goes...

EDITORIAL NOTES
As far as receiving the Editorial Notes goes, it feels freaking awesome, that's how it feels... for about a week. Then it feels, well, kind of scary. And then you read the notes over and over again and smile because someone majorly awesome who can help get you published not only knows about your book, but about each of your characters and their motivations, quirks, and dreams. Not only that, but they care about you! They care about you as a person and about you becoming a better writer and about making your story shine. You look in the mirror and pinch yourself to make sure you're awake and not just having the best freaking dream of your life.

Then you get back to work.

That's where I'm at now: editing. Huh, this is eerily familiar, except with a little more direction. Correction: make that a lot more direction. Nice.

I'm sure each agent has their own style. My agent - the uber-wonderful Bernadette Baker-Baughman - sent me notes with a wide brush stroke. This is because we're working with a first draft. We decided together, that I have until the end of January to dig a little deeper into the story and get it back to her for a second look. At that point, she'll do a more thorough read and edit. I'm hoping the third time will be the charm, but that remains to be seen.

Some of the wide brush stroke topics included in her Editorial Notes were:
  • CONFLICT
  • TONE
  • ANTAGONIST
  • METAPHORS
  • CULTURAL REFERENCES
For example, TONE: Go darker, really dark. Or CONFLICT: Set up conflict right out of the gate, and she went on to make suggestions. This is precisely what I need at this point - to have direction and concepts to think about as I add color to the black and white sketch that is the first draft.

AGENT/AUTHOR CONTRACT
I said I'd post about what it feels like to sign the agent/author contract, but I don't know the answer to that yet. She emailed it to me in order for me to review it and ask questions, and the paper contract is currently on its way somewhere between Portland, OR and Philly. I'm sure signing it will be a thrilling moment. I'll do my best to keep my hand from shaking so much that my signature won't be legible.

I hope my experience helps you envision your own Editorial Notes and agent/author contract. If you believe and work hard, you will soon have your own version of this story to tell.

Lyrics from songs I wrote many moon ago:

Dreams... dream on - until they are no longer fantasy.

and...

Dreaming dreams along the way
If you slow down you'll fall astray
Finding what you need in love
Knowing you'll soon rise above...

Dream on, my friends, dream on. And, always remember: little by little all your sweet dreams will come true.

50 comments:

Jewel/Pink Ink said...

Debbie, I saw your feature on Query Tracket. Congratulations on landing your agent and good luck with your book!!

*happy dance*

DebraLSchubert said...

Jewel, It's so nice to see your beautiful face grace my blog again! And, I'm glad you saw the feature on Query Tracker. It's been an amazing month. I'll join you in that happy dance. ;-)

Cynthia Schuerr said...

Hi Debra,

Sometimes all we need is something to hang on to real tight, to keep us moving in the right direction with our writing. With this post, my friend, you have done exactly that, for me. You have given me hope.

Thank you with all my heart,
Cynthia

DebraLSchubert said...

Cynthia, Your words brought tears to my eyes. I'm the one thanking you. Hang in there - you can and will reach your dreams. ;-)

melane said...

I love this post. I've dreamed of being a published author ever since I was little. Your words are an encouragement to all of us out there still working towards our goals.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Great post, Debra! I feel that way, too--with writing, the end really is the beginning. I felt that when I got agented and published that the dream ended, but it really just starts and so many doors open! The dream just changes I think---I've got more to aim for. I appreciate your encouragement.

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

DebraLSchubert said...

Melane, I'm so glad you like the post. Encouraging and supporting other writers is one of my biggest goals and greatest joys. Keep at it - if I can do it, you can, too!

DebraLSchubert said...

Elizabeth, You point out something unagented or newly agented writers don't often think about. Even after being published, there are so many adventures to look forward to.

Wherever we are - on some level - it's just the beginning of the next adventure. Thanks for that, and continued success on your journey. ;-)

Solvang Sherrie said...

I love reading stuff like this! It gives me a chance to fantasize that it might happen to me too. Someday...soon I hope!

DebraLSchubert said...

Sherrie, Yay! Fantasize away. That's a huge part of what it takes. (Oh, yeah, and there's the hard work part...!)

Karen Walker said...

good luck in this revision phase, Debra. You are very lucky and very talented and this is so awesome.
karen

injaynesworld said...

Debra, Congratulations. Savor every moment. I remember my excitement at getting my first literary agent for my TV writing career. For the most part they were business people and not editors who could give you notes of value. It sounds like you have a terrific partner in your agent. I hope you'll still find time to write here. So many blogs, so little good writing. I look forward to more of yours.

Journaling Woman said...

I am so thrilled for you. You have worked really hard and look where it is leading you...down the road of success. I was glued to your editorial notes and all the while praying that someday I will join you on the yellow brick road to writing success. Woo Who!!!

Teresa

DebraLSchubert said...

Karen, You are very kind. Thank you. ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Jayne, I do feel lucky and blessed to have found Bernadette and I am consciously trying to savor the joy. I'm following you, btw. ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Teresa, Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. It means a lot to me. I know you will experience the same success, it's just a matter of time. ;-)

Daisy Whitney said...

Yay for notes! Guidance from an agent and editor is truly invaluable! I remember getting notes from my agent on the phone after she first read my manuscript and said "this is the one we're going to sell." And sell she did! Then getting notes from my editor was totally cool and daunting too. So detailed, but notes at that level -- agent/editor -- make a book so much better. You are going to be amazed at what your book becomes, Debra!

Jemi Fraser said...

Awesome!! So exciting. How wonderful to have someone else so invested in your work :)

DebraLSchubert said...

Daisy, Your comment blew my mind! I'm starting to realize I'm much luckier than I even realized. And, you are one of the reasons I'm so blessed. ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Jemi, Thanks so much. It is incredible to have such great support. I don't take it for granted one tiny bit.

Steph Damore said...

I'm dreaming right now and drinking champagne. My dreams will come true my friend--trust me, I believe.

DebraLSchubert said...

Steph, If you believe, it shall be. I also have no doubt you will be telling your agent story very soon. I can't wait to hear it!

Lisa Dez said...

I'm in Portland on business. Do you want me to pick your contract up for you? Your agent is here and my agent lives there (in PA). Maybe we could do a swap... Not sure how that'd work.

DebraLSchubert said...

Lisa, Brilliant idea! Plus, that way we could go eat some chocolate together somewhere. BRING IT ON!

Katie Ganshert said...

I just found your blog and I love it! What a cool journey you've had so far! I just got an agent a few weeks ago, so I totally resonated with your post about getting the call. I went a little crazy myself. :) I look forward to learning more about you and your writing journey!

Take care,
Katie

DebraLSchubert said...

Katie, So glad you found me! And how awesome that our timing is so similar. I'm going to hop over and check out your blog. Best of luck with your edits and submission!

Indigo said...

I have this smile that grew and spread across my face as I read this. You my dear friend give the rest of us hope and renew our spirits. I can't wait until the day I can share these same feelings. (Hugs)Indigo

nsiyer said...

How inspirational Debra, you rock.

DebraLSchubert said...

Indigo, Making you smile is one of my great goals in life. If I inspire you, I'm doing something right. I know you'll have a similar story to tell one of these days, and I'll be smiling as you tell it. ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

Nsiyer, You rock, too, my friend. You rock, too. ;-)

Corra McFeydon said...

Congrats to you! Thanks for sharing the inside story. :)

Krichelle Groth said...

Great post! Congrats that you are in the revision phase and that you got great detailed feedback from your agent. Best wishes as you move forward to get your book ready to send to publishers. I hope to have my novel ready in the Spring to submit agent queries.

DebraLSchubert said...

Corra, Thanks and you're welcome!

DebraLSchubert said...

Krichelle, Thanks for your kind words. Let me know if I can help in any way as you get ready to query.

Ann's Rants said...

Congrats again, Debra. I am a true believer in having faith in your path. So often it is hard to accept (not giving us what we want, not fast enough, not the way we pictured).

Your patience and perseverance, mixed with your positive outlook, marketing/networking saavy, and of course talent brought you to this moment.

Congrats! The rest of us are watching closely and learning. Thank you for that.

xo
Ann

DebraLSchubert said...

Ann, Your words mean a lot. Knowing I'm inspiring and supporting others on their journey is priceless. Thank you. ;-)

bARE-eYED sUN said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bARE-eYED sUN said...

motivational post,
thank you. :-)



we already KNOW that writing is NOT one of our dreams because a writer writes and we DON'T, if we can avoid it.

stange for a blogger, true, but there it is.

otoh, we find you post weirdly motivational, weird because, . . . what we said;

motivational because without a dream what is there to work towards?

'ceptin' maybe keepin' ones' employer in business.

anyhoo, kudos to you,
keep up the good work, luv.

:-)

..
.ero

مى said...

Too bad I'm already a follower. I coulda made that 199 ;)

Love this post, Debra. xx

DebraLSchubert said...

Bare-Eyed, Thanks for joining the party. Something tells me you're going to have a lot to add to the fun. ;-)

DebraLSchubert said...

said, I'm so glad you're already on board. And, thanks for loving this post!

Bethany Wiggins said...

Congratulations!!! What an awesome, awesome post. Let us know how it all turns out.

Chuck Schubert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
DebraLSchubert said...

Bethany, Thank you so very much, and I promise I will keep you posted. ;-)

Micah Sheppard, Publicist said...

Thanks for the Tommy Emmanuel mention. We'll make sure he sees it. Do note that he has a new album out called 'Just Between Frets' with jazz guitarist Frank Vignola. www.certifiedguitarplayer.com

--Micah

DebraLSchubert said...

Micah, We LOVE Tommy! My husband has seen him three times and we listen to his music a lot. We're also musicians and greatly appreciate his immense talent. I did another post on him when I saw him back in March. Here's the link:http://debralschubert.blogspot.com/2009/03/little-by-little-your-sweet-dreams-come.html

Also, here's a link to our music:
http://www.myspace.com/karmachain

Please give Tommy our best and tell him "thanks" for sharing his magnificent gift with the world.

Voidwalker said...

I really like that quote from said guitar master :)

DebraLSchubert said...

VW, I know - pretty awesome!

Tracy Edward Wymer said...

Congrats on landing an agent.

DebraLSchubert said...

Tracy, Thanks!!

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