Saturday, June 21, 2008

A Manuscript's Journey

Since the title of my blog is "The Story of a Writer" I've decided to follow my recently completed young adult story on its journey to publication. Each week I'll update the manuscript's progress until it finds success. Notice, I'm being positive here, which is one quality a writer must have. We must persevere. And boy am I doing that already. I keep reminding myself of the old saying "Never give up."

An article I read in the newspaper sparked the idea for this story. (I'm not giving a title just yet-I am a bit superstitious) In February, 2006, I started work on characters, ideas, setting, and all the preliminary parts to writing a novel. I filled out character sheets, sometimes just a couple of things about each major character, and added to them as the story progressed. Interviewing my characters, asking them to tell me about themselves also helped me get acquainted with them.

Next I started writing. No outlines. I let the story grow organically. Many times I took detours and got lost. I'm terrible at reading road maps. But I listened to my characters and they pulled me back in the right direction. I wrote, revised, wrote, and revised some more. In January, 2008, after 6 revisions, I submitted the story to my critique group. They're awesome. Their comments caught those little details I missed, and also pointed out ways to take the characters deeper. Thanks, friends. You know who you are.

I revised again. Then on June 16, my heart pounding, I took the plunge and emailed agent query #1. It wasn't painless, let me tell you. It hurt a lot. What if great agent thinks it's awful? The story I've put two years of my life into? The characters who I know as well as I know my own children? But it's time to let them go. Like real life kids, they can't stay home forever, but must go out into the world and make their own way.

June 17, another e-query went out.

June 18, the third e-query was sent.

June 19, e-query #4 traveled the Internet.

June 20, I emailed # 5.

To date, three have responded with no thanks. But one ... and this has given me encouragement ... wrote the nicest note: ""I'm sure you'll have no trouble drumming up interest from agents."

More next week.

Until then,

Happy reading and writing.

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