Hello, my lovely friends! Can you believe it's already June? Where the heck did May go? There was so much going on last month, it went like a blur. May was also the last full month of school for my little one--which meant, LOTS of school activities and events. Last week, I barely survived a field trip. This week, there was a musical play to go to, and an art exhibition later that evening (okay, I confess I skipped the exhibition. I already saw my daughter's artwork so there was no need to go back to school twice. Plus, I was starving. This mama's eating for two, ya know!)
Anyway, there's my excuse for being sporadic around the interwebz. Did I also mention that I've been napping two to three times a day lately? Can't help it, man. If we're driving somewhere that's longer than 10 minutes, I'm guaranteed to fall asleep in the car (I was in the passenger seat, people! I don't drive and snooze). Stopping by great-grandma's house to say hi? Yeah, I conked out on the sofa after giving hugs and air kisses *mwah mwah* Here's hoping I didn't snore...too loudly. Or if I did, they were all too polite to tell me.
Well, since I was forced to shun social media due to my "busy, busy, busy!" schedule (of naptimes and food breaks *snort*), it was only natural that I should turn to ANOTHER form of social media to avoid violent withdrawals. Eh? What's that? It doesn't follow logic? Whatev.
Introducing my latest
addiction obsession entertainment:
Because, you know, I have all the time in the world...NOT! Actually, I downloaded the app on my iPhone, so while I was waiting at the clinic today for my prenatal appointment, BAM! Pinterest on the go. Pin this, pin that. Better than playing Angry Birds for the umpteenth time, I'm telling you.
But what I love about it is the ability it gives me to VISUALIZE stories.
I love Art. I love visuals. It's in my blood. I can't help it. I've been wanting to join Pinterest for-E-V-E-R but was too busy napping to ask for an invite. And now that I have it, I'm IN, I might very well go pin-crazy. You can kinda tell just by how many pins I've already managed to add to my board entitled: Inspiration for HIDDEN.
Good thing there are no actual pins involved.
Are you on Pinterest, too? Or do you consider it another *gasp* waste of time?
Yeah, it's fun to daydream sometimes. And it's fun to think you'll be as cool as a cucumber when your inbox shows you've got mail. Especially when the email starts with: "I am pleased to tell you..." You're not going to
No, you'll be an uber cool dude, and no one--I say, NO ONE--is going to find you doing a cross between the chicken dance and Elaine's dance because you are such a professional.
What? You want stats? I don't do stats, but I'll try my best.
I started querying around the end of March--which was very poor timing on my part. People were just coming back from the Bologna Book Fair. I sent out a few queries (like 3) and waited, and waited, and waited. It was also the earliest version of my query. Fast forward to a couple of weeks later, I decided to send out a few more with a newly revamped query. And the waiting continued.
Lesson #1: Be patient.
Rejections finally came in. *sting* But as they were based on my query, it didn't hurt too much. I knew I needed to work on it. Enter Agent Query Connect and its awesome band of writers. I had all my query versions numbered in a file. My first full request came, and I thought I was going to faint. I was so nervous I messed up the page numbers in my file submission and had to re-send a new email with the corrections. *facepalm*
Lesson #2: Learn to calm down. Double check everything. Don't be hasty.
For most of April, I sent out intermittent queries. At the same time, I worked on my query, even asking BBC's Query Cat to do a Saturday Slash on my query. I stayed up late writing query drafts. I dreamed about writing queries. Also zombies. And a handful of vampires (no, they weren't sparkly). I also had to deal with a lot of medical stuff and lab tests. It wasn't the best of time for me. Did I feel slightly down while the crickets in my inbox created an orchestra to rival the New York Philharmonic?
Yes, yes I did. But I kept on going.
Lesson #3: Don't give up easily. Hope is a beautiful thing.
I've been following numerous literary agents on Twitter, even those I had no plan of querying (just because I already knew they weren't a good fit for me, personality-wise, or that they did not represent my genre). I followed them anyway because it's always good to get oneself educated about the publishing biz.
Ms. Fabulous Agent was on Twitter giving out #querytips, #writingtips, and #pubtips. They were helpful tips, and sometimes downright hilarious (the most recent one is from a sample where the author likened a pancake to a coffin. :D). I
Lesson #4: Trust your writerly instincts.
I sent off my latest query to Miss Fabulous Agent, and one other (also a lovely agent). Then with fingers and toes crossed, I set off for my 7-month prenatal appointment. While waiting in the lobby, I checked my email (confession: Having an iPhone is both a curse and a blessing. I will not tell you how many times I check my email every day, but you can probably guess it's a good substantial number.)
She said my query intrigued her.
She said she wanted to see the first 50 pages.
I wanted to go home and send it off right away, but I needed to see my doctor first. And take a nasty glucose drink to test for gestational diabetes. Which meant more waiting at the clinic. My palms began itching.
The minute I got home, I sent off my partial with a little prayer. (Apparently, I forgot lesson #2. I was THAT excited.)
I woke up extra early, and nearly fell off the bed when I checked my email on my phone and found out Ms. Fabulous Agent read my partial first thing in the morning. And she wanted to see the rest of the manuscript. Holy moly. She was lightning fast. The crickets in my inbox must have developed laryngitis or something. I couldn't believe it.
I sent her my full, and prepped myself for a long wait. In the meantime, I got another full request from a different agent. I decided to send out a few more queries.
Lesson #5: Query widely. Just do. If I had stuck to my list, I would never have found and queried Ms. Fabulous Agent.
She. Loved. It. All of it. My book Hidden. Loved.
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe I did both.
I sent out notices to the other agents I have queried or had my full submissions that I had an offer of representation. I could have signed with Ms. Fabulous Agent right then and there (I liked her THAT much), but I had to be courteous. Six other full requests invaded my inbox. I was stupefied. I gave them 10 days to get back to me.
Possibly the longest ten days of my life. Some of them came back with high compliments and very positive feedback, some missed the deadline. I then informed Ms. Fabulous Agent I wanted to sign with her. I don't think I slept very well that night--I was too hyper. :)
She emailed me the Agency Agreement for my preview. I was in a complete daze. And I truly adore her.
Now excuse me while I go
I just realized I haven't blogged for a WEEK. *gasp!* In my defense, I've finally had enough brain cells intact to attempt editing. *another gasp!* I finished writing the first draft of my YA Urban Fantasy WIP Hidden last October of 2011. Then, as per the wonderful advice of my many writer friends, I left it to stew for a long time...well, 2 and 1/2 months to be exact. In the meantime, I did NaNoWriMo, found out I was pregnant (and named the bathroom my new hang-out place), spent the holidays with family, and read a lot of books (the published kind) from the library. I didn't have any inclination to write or even bother with the publishing biz. My Google searches became incredibly tame--instead of searching for monsters and mythology, or ways to kill off an immortal witch, I was looking for baby names and old wives' tales of how to determine the gender of your baby before you get that oh-so-exciting ultrasound picture.
I was in full mommy mode, and the writer in me was taking a back seat...temporarily.
But then, prompted by a friend's ms swapping (Thank you, lovely!), I was forced (in a good way) to finally open my Word doc and read Hidden in its entirety for the first time since I finished it.
I read, and read, and read. And lo and behold, the all-too familiar tingling returned, and I knew I wanted to dive back into the writing world once more. Hence, the editing.
So here's what I found out: I SUCK at editing my own work. Really. I'm reading the ms with the intention to spot out errors, but I get suck into the story instead and I forget why I had a pen and a highlighter nearby.
The bottom line? We NEED crit partners. Let me say that again: We NEED crit partners. Beta readers. Whatever you want to call them. We need help. We are NOT superhero writers, even if we write about superheroes all the time. Our first (and even second, and third, and possibly fourth) draft will stink. There's no way around it.
Don't feel lame for asking help. And, don't be afraid to see those red marks when the feedback gets back to you. It's okay to cringe and bang your head on the desk a few times from embarrassment, but don't let it stop you. Mistakes and acknowledging them help us improve. Grow. Become the best that we can be. For we're all capable of great things, we all have potential. The key is learning how to reach that potential.
So, here's to editing and to our wonderful critique partners! *huzzah!*
P.S. Btw, sorry if I haven't visited your lovely blogs. I tried, I really did. But for some reason, Blogger won't let me leave comments or open up blog pages, no matter how many times I try to refresh them. Hopefully, it'll get sorted out soon. ;)
This passage is a little creepy. My MC has just survived a near drowning accident when she takes a plunge into the river. As I've mentioned before, she is a teenager diagnosed with Schizoaffective disorder. It's similar to Schizophrenia, though they are not quite of the same vein. She's been plagued with hallucinations...or so she's been told.
This is from Chapter 6.
My main character is a 16-year-old girl diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and psychotic depression after her father's death.
Here's an excerpt from Chapter 3: