Thanks, Brain!

Tying in to my earlier post about letting your brain wrestle with vexing problems so you don’t (actively) have to, I took some time last night to tweak the prologue to The Spaces Between Us, which is a good news/bad news situation.

The good news: The manuscript is clearer and tighter. In short, my methodology for setting up the scene came off as though I had dropped in placeholders and never got around to giving anybody actual names. This is a legitimate technique, when used wisely, however there was too much runway. Some clever edits shortened the runway.

The bad news: I fully expect all of my active queries to be rejected. Left in a vacuum of no constructive feedback, I am deducing that since most agents ask for the first 5-10 pages, and the prologue is 10 pages on the nose, they’re most likely turned off by the appearance of lazy writing even though the “placeholder” effect was phased out by the end of the chapter. I’m betting they’re not drawing that distinction and frankly, it’s easier to say no than to split hairs over intent.

I could be wrong, of course.

I’m really down on myself for not catching that sooner, however that’s the down side of being close to the material. I was sure that I had this polished down to being radio-ready, to use a music term, but sadly I could have done better. I said up front that I would most likely make mistakes. Too true!

Counting my blessings, I’m glad that a) I paused querying to regroup, and therefore there aren’t many pending to summarily reject and b) I caught a key problem before it ruined my career, at least for this book. I’d be more ripped up if this was all I had in my WIP pile.




The Illusion of Preparedness

I officially rescind all of my crabbing and complaining about not receiving any bites from any literary agents thus far (holding at 7 rejections as of this writing). Not just because of, you know, karma, but because my nifty e-reader editing technique revealed serious flaws in my seventh (!!!) and I thought final draft. Seventh!

Continue reading “The Illusion of Preparedness”


Following up on my most recent post, in which I vented a bit about the literary query waiting game (truth be told, it was massively edited down before posting, but still), some things have come to my attention.

  • A friend of mine sent me a private message containing a link to a blog by a MG/YA author in which he describes the daily struggle of juggling multiple projects. My take-away was, There Will Be Juggling, at all times, meaning it won’t magically end because I got an agent and/or published. If anything, there will be more sources providing things to juggle.

  • Bryn Donovan says venting is a terrible idea.

    If we choose to post a rant on social media or an online forum, we may bring down a lot of people who are connected to us on the internet. Psychology professor Jeffrey Lohr memorably compares this to farting in an elevator. “I just want to vent.” Well, thanks a lot.

    Yeah, well, the elevator started it, man.

    More seriously, she gets some pushback in the comments about when venting is appropriate and even helpful, but point taken. I’m generally very cagey about what I say online about my experience with trying to get a book published because I am striking a balance between transparency (here’s what the process entails and how I am muddling through it) versus censorship (saying nothing at all, which is very much the opposite of how I am wired).

    While I am not willing or able to engage in full-on transparency for a litany of reasons, up to and including good taste and manners, I do think there needs to be some leeway for actual human emotion here. This is a personal blog, and if I want to say the literary query process sucks, then I’ll do that. Opinions about that will vary. And I suppose if I really do get blackballed for venting on my personal blog, then rest assured I will be quite transparent (and vocal) about that.

  • /Puts on Pixar themed shirt, wears it untucked

    In other news, I nearly have four SOLID chapters done on my first draft of (Redacted), and I COULDN’T BE MORE EXCITED, YOU GUYS.

    SRSLY, I am looking forward to not only completing the first draft, but grooming it for the arduous query process. ETA for that phase of the operation is January 2 2018.

    Transparency: There is a waiting time that varies by agency/agent between queries. If I queried for (Redacted Other Book), I can’t send another query for (This book) for a minimum of 30 days, usually longer. Which is fine, as I don’t expect to be query-ready for at least 3 months after the start of the initial draft, and that’s assuming awesome writing and minimal editing. (Holds sides laughing)

  • Happy holiday weekend!