Thursday, August 13, 2009

Back in Querying Hell


If you read my last post, you'll know that my apartment was broken into last weekend. Though it was a scary situation, it has had one good outcome regarding my writing.

I can't sleep. My palms are sweaty, I keep worrying and checking the lock on the back door compulsively. I can't concentrate on my WiP. I'm a nervous wreck.

Symptoms sound familiar? If you're currently stuck in Querying Hell, you'll know why. Since I tend to feel the same way when I am querying, I decided to go ahead and send out another batch of e-queries. Figure why bother wasting these sweaty palms? And maybe compulsive email checking will distract me from the constant, compulsive door-lock-checking.

But strangely enough, aside from the manic inbox refreshing, I feel better about my work this time around. (Is this Round Three already? Can't be!) I managed to clean up my repetitive dialogue tags, tried to remove any awkward narrative, and added more personal perspective from the MC.


One of my biggest worries came from an agent's rejection of a full, though. This agent said they thought: "things were happening too quickly--as though you, as the writer, know the way you want the story to go and are forcing it in that direction, rather than letting it take shape on its own."

Now, I know it doesn't help to obsess over the quick notes an agent jots down about your full, but even though it was the first (and only) time I heard this comment, this agent had been pretty spot on about other weaknesses in the manuscript. I was worried. It seemed like a major flaw that couldn't be overcome during the quick rewrite I had planned. In re-reading the manuscript, I felt that I knew what this agent meant. I realized that I thought of the story as being sort of... guided by a supernatural force out of the control of the characters. Call it Fate, but I realized I needed more than just an unnamed force calling the shots.

What I decided to do was give an existing character a larger role, making it out to be she (or the loa she was devoted to, even I'm not 100% sure of this) who is pulling the strings of Fate. She was one of my favorites, anyway, and I think her presence in both times really helps to balance the story, and cut down on the feeling of a contrived plot.

At least, that's the hope. The proof will be in the partial requests, right?


Suzanne said...

Love it! Oh the revisions. Oh the thinking you couldn't change one. more. thing. and then you fall in love with it all over again.

Great job!

Rebecca Knight said...

Sooo true about sweaty query palms!

Best of luck with the revisions! Like you said, the biggest test is whether or not the critiques resonate with you. It sounds like you're definitely going in the right direction. You can do it!! :)

Rebecca @sometimesnonsense said...

I'm so sorry to hear about the break in. That's terrible! I can only imagine how difficult it's been to readjust and feel safe but I love your attitude. You're right sending queries is ptetty much the same sort of feeling at times. There's that tricky silver lining again!

Best of luck with the new round. I'm with you on the agent feedback but I got a heck of a lot more to go on from my partial then my full so I've done that and now it's all about waiting, especially since I have another full out there. *sigh*

Hang in there and keep that awesome attitude!

TereLiz said...

Thanks, y'all! I got a nibble yesterday afternoon, so I'm already feeling much better about my work. And I'm still locking the door.
Oddly enough, you'll get a little laugh if you look at what the post I made before the break-in is called. ;)

Eric said...

That's too bad, concerning the break in. Just glad that you're okay and unharmed. It sounds like the agent might have some good advice there, since you definitely don't want to be "pushing" the story along. I'm sure your changes will be just what is needed. Good luck.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

And, on the next read, someone will say the novel reads too slowly, or there's too much main character fiddling. It's always something.

Have a great weekend.

Best Regards, Galen
Imagineering Fiction Blog

jessjordan said...

Good thing you didn't lose your WIP during the break in!

Congrats on the nibbles you're getting, and on taking the agent's feedback and making your story stronger. Best of luck!!