Usually, the holiday season is a bit of a dry spell for querying authors (people hunting for agents), but I actually received some really constructive feedback from an agent who read my full manuscript. Even the fact that I got her to read the whole thing in the first place was nothing short of amazing (it's a rare occurrence to have your full manuscript read). So it was an added bonus that she wrote a short editorial letter- detailing what she loved about the book and what didn't work for her. As an extra treat, she told me that if I addressed the details of my story that stymied her and made revisions, I could turn in the manuscript again for her reconsideration.
While I was initially disappointed that I didn't get an offer of representation, I soon picked myself up and let the editorial comments soak in my mind. I continued spewing out pages of my work in progress and mulled the agent's suggestions in my head.
Two weeks later, hubby and I packed up the car and headed to Texas for a family gathering. There, I was determined I would use the week to start on revisions and see where they headed.
I hate revising.
I've always hated it. In high school I never even considered it. Even in college I wrote my papers in a flurry of academic brilliance and didn't look back.
But it's necessary. This fact I've warmed up to in the past few years. Characters need reshaping and developing. Endings must be lengthened. Plot points must be clarified.
No one gets it right on the first try.
I sat at my in-laws dining room table, surrounded by revisions notes and cooling mugs of tea and coffee, I faced the revision monster. Yet again. I wrote an extra chapter. I read the MS two times to see how I could mold and reshape scenes to reveal characters in a deeper, illuminating light. I changed the tone of the overall MS to be more amiable to young adult readers.
And... SURPRISE!... my manuscript is better for it. I've come to enjoy the process of refining and whittling away at what was once a complete mess of a rough draft. To see the characters come into their own, to watch the story take on depths that I'd never originally intended for it.
Yet, in the midst of this chaos called revision, the unthinkable happened. I got a second FULL REQUEST for my manuscript! Instead of being ecstatic, which really, I should have been, I panicked. I was only half-way through my revisions. I didn't want to send the old MS, now that I'd so clearly improved it, yet I could send the mangled mess that I was currently operating on. What to do? I couldn't wait to send the complete revised version because, well, agents appreciate prompt responses with these things.
So I grafted. I took out sections of the revision that were complete and patched them into the old MS. Smoothed it over so no one would notice the incision lines and pressed send.
We'll see what happens. It is, after all, a new year and a new start. 2011, are you the year I'll find an agent? Pretty please?
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