Sunday, January 31, 2010

My Week Off

After submitting my rewrite, I decided to take a week off before starting revisions on my next book. I spent the week doing the taxes, looking for literary agents, honing my query letter, and thinking about how to fix my next book’s ending, which my critique group hated.

I also went to the library.

“We have to get out of here,” I told my daughter. It was our second trip to the library in two weeks and I already had a huge stack of unread library books at home, plus another six books on request. I knew I didn’t need more, but, “The books keep jumping into my hands, see? Oh, here’s another one that looks good!” I slid an enticing title off the shelf and turned it over to read the blurb on the back.

“There isn’t enough fantasy,” my daughter complained.

“People don’t remember this, but fifteen years ago, there wasn’t any fantasy being written for middle grade. That was before Harry Potter. Nowadays when you go to the book store that’s all you see on the shelf. But here at the library, a lot of these books are ten and fifteen years old.” I shifted the stack of books in my arms to keep my latest acquisition from sliding off. “Now what we need is for someone to do for science fiction what Potter did for fantasy.”

With a grin, I glanced over my shoulder at the dog-eared Harry Potter books lined up in their own special place on top of the shelf. Somebody do that for science fiction. Please.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Query Away!

I sent off a query letter and some sample pages on Wednesday, my first submission to a literary agent in over two years. As I stood at the post office counter and thumbed through my submission packet I smiled at how different I felt as compared to last time. Here's a quote from my journal two years ago:

"Today I finally got out to the post office. I had a stack of bills and another query to send off. As I drove down the road I had to fight a growing sense of foreboding. Why was I doing this? This was crazy! I am sending a letter, a synopsis, and the first three chapters of my book to a complete stranger! I thought, If I turn the car around and drive home right now, I could put the bills in the mail box and put my manuscript in the filing cabinet and just forget about the whole thing. No one would ever know the difference. I don't have to publish this novel. WHY AM I DOING THIS?"

This time there was no agonizing. It was almost a non-event. I made sure my SASE was in there, glanced over my letter one last time, sealed the envelope shut and dropped it in the slot.

Last time, I had only finished one manuscript. For that one manuscript to face rejection seemed like a matter of life or death for my writing career. This time, I've finished three full manuscripts. If no one takes number two, then I'll try again with number three. And then number four, and so on. I could keep at this forever. But I don't think I'll have to. Because with each book I learn and get better, and eventually I'm going to be good enough to find that agent.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Earthcrosser Back in Orbit

I got word today that my manuscript has arrived safely, and is now waiting in line to be considered. Thanks so much to everyone who read draft 8 and gave me suggestions. Every pair of eyes helps!

While I wait, I'm going to be revising my next book. I have something new to try. Lately, I've heard more than one professional author talk about creating a solid synopsis BEFORE writing a book. I'll try it for this revision, and also for a new book which I plan to draft this summer. Since I seem to have more trouble with story than with any other element of my writing, I think this will really help me get that in hand.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

A New Stage of Life

I know my family has reached a new stage of life. We left a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle out as we worked on it for two whole weeks. No pieces were chewed on, swallowed, or peeled apart. All the babies have grown up. *sigh*

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Getting There!

I finished reading Earthcrosser again today. There's still a list of things to do before I submit, but overall it is a solid piece of work.

Preparing submission materials for this book was SO MUCH EASIER than preparing them for my previous novel. Number one, I had done it once before, so I already knew how to do it. Number two, this book is so much stronger than my last one. It's always easier to sell something that's worth buying.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

My husband, the pancake artist, created these for the first breakfast of 2010.

On New Year's Eve, my children always enjoy demolishing and eating the gingerbread house. Here's all that was left of the Gummi Bear Castle.