Just slowly going mad

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Have you ever been reading and reading and you feel like you’ve spent forever editing a project but then you look down and you’re not even through the first 80 pages yet? That’s me at the  moment. Three day’s ago i was on page 70, i’m spending between 3 and 5 hours a night editing, on my own, bit of music on but no distractions, just working. so that’s up to 15 hours and less than 10 pages down.

I’m starting to wonder if i’m a perfectionist or just a really bad writer?

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New Toy

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I’ve been wanting one of those mini lap-tops for ages, so i can sit and type waiting for the school bus or when we travel etc and guess what???

My partner just walked in and gave me one – and all the bits and pieces that go with it.

I’m over the moon!

How else is my day going. well to start off i slept in. My partner made me a cup of coffee when he started work at about 6.50am and i fell straight back to sleep. i was supposed to open the office at 8am and woke up at 8.05!

So mad rush and running around- lucky it’s the quiet season.

Three coffee’s later and writers cramp from working on Annual leases and documents and i get my new toy! So now it’s really hard to concentrate on work and not play!

Then i cut my hand on my dishwasher – i know how on earth could i do that? i was juggling a half dozen things and i tried to shut the dish washer with one hand so i could have knocked it on anything.

What’s on my mind for tonight? well i’m helping out with the Joey Scouts (Aussie scouts for 6-8 year olds) then i’m editing Shadow Wisdom like mad.

I have had a brain wave. I’m always so keen to get things just right so to date i’ve always written books 2 and 3 etc in a series before thinking about an agent because what if i get to a bit in book 3 and want to change something in book 1? But as i dive into the world of agent hunting i’m finding that only book 1 matters and there’s probably a good year between getting an agent or publisher and then being published and in that year i can work through the next book if anyone’s interested in it etc etc etc – my new moral. just get book one polished till it shines then look for an agent and start something completely different. That way i’m not wasting time in books that might not ever ever sell – even though to me they are the BEST thing ever.

Food for Thought – i’ve got more paperwork to do.

Notes on Editing

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My number one rule is forget about spelling and grammar until the very very very last edit – because if in the mean time you add something here or change that chapter then you’re just going to need to re-read for spelling and grammar. Save time, do spelling and grammar last. If you spot something fix it but just reading for spelling or grammer is a waste of time before you’re certain the story is how it should be.

Activity 1

Do a complete read as quickly as you can. Keep a notebook handy and look for plot consistency. Get the story line right. Make sure your characters are consistent IE the MC doesn’t start off with blond hair then suddenly have brown. The only way to do this is in a quiet spot with complete concentration and no interruptions.

Activity 2.

Print off a page a day, or whatever your writing schedule is. this activity’s great because you can take your page anywhere – on the bus, in front of the tv, waiting in a line, edit that page to pieces. completely re-write sentences, and work each line to make it perfect. don’t be afraid to start fresh on bits or to shuffle things around.

Activity 3.

Read aloud, words flow differently when you read it aloud.Take notice if you repeat words or letters, take notice you you waffle on and bore yourself, listen to the flow of dialogue – make it good. Act out bits, use emphasis, look at yourself in the mirror and let your words show the story – don’t try to explain things, show them. It’s supposed to be really good if you can get someone else to read your story aloud to you and simply listen to the flow – if you can find someone willing to do it.

 Activity 4.

Write short stories, or poems, about specific points in your story. The more dynamic an understanding you have the  better able you will be to show the rest of the world.

Activity 5.

Work on your character. They each need to be individual. Do a mind-map or brain-storm of each character and if you start to notice that you are repeating the exact same attributes then you know where to begin fine tuning. It may be as simple as adding a favorite word to one character and a favorite food to another, or making one a step-child/parent which changes their backgrounds and possibly their attitudes to certain things, or give them a hobby – a footballer playing mum will be different in many ways to their sister the famous painter mum. You can have so much fun with this one – go to the markets and shops and keep your eyes open – you may see the exact Painting your MC is working on or the watch they wear or the trinket they wish they’d brought in chapter 3 (take your camera and snap a few shots to jog your memory later)

Activity 6.

This one is for when you get to the point of looking at spelling and grammar. Read it backwards, sentence by sentence. Sounds silly – it wont make any sense! But that means that you won’t accidently read what you know it says rather than reading what it actually says. A common one for me is the typo ‘packed’ instead of ‘packet’ and vice versa. It’s easy to miss in the heat of a battle or love scene but makes a huge difference.

Another Query

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I just hit the send button on an E-Query via a friends friend type thing. I have been reading a lot about agents reading referels from writers they currently represent before all the others so i have my fingers crossed. However i’m also nervious.

I was quering American agents and this time i’ve sent it off to the UK – and apparently my wording is a little Aussie. It can’t be too Aussie because Kemla’s set in medieval times, they didn’t have Koala’s or G’day mates so i know i haven’t accidently used any of those but i guess people do pick up accents other then their own easier then i can pick up my own accent so i’m ready to sit tight and wait.

I will be a little annoyed if my Aussie accent is the reason i’ve been rejected so far and no one else thought to say so…. but then i doubt i’ve been rejected based on any one thing so i’m crossing my fingers and trying not to hold my breath.

here’s to submission number 3

Agent Query Notes

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So here’s my plans of attack

and my records

of Agents i’ve queried

(since beginning this blog)

CURRENT SUBMISSIONS AND RESEARCH

  • 25/9/10 i recieved a quick ‘we’ve recieved your query’ email today, which is great so i know the email got there safely – now i just have to wait. 24/9/10 i hit the send button on this query today! 22/8/10. Still no word from either the agent in the Uk about Kemla or Random House about Shadow Wisdom. I’m starting to go mad… and to research who my next option is.http://www.bdb.com.au/submissions/ BLACK DOG PUBLISHERS. I’ve blogged my thoughts on them seperatly as I do the research but they’re Australian which might be bonus. 

  • Random House. 25/7/10. For ‘Shadow Wisdom’, they publish both ‘Fallen’ and ‘Rangers Apprentice’ both in my age bracket and also of similar audiences and also very well represented. I know, they’re a full blown publishing house and not an agent and this is a huge risk but i’ve written a whole other frustrated post on this matter. Their guidelines are on their website and the email address is: kidspitch@randomhouse.com.au : Here’s with fingers crossed.

  • Llewellyn publishing: http://www.llewellyn.com/about/author_submissions.php No known name to specifically address this too. This one’s for a non-fiction spirituality based work that’s been tickling me lately. It’s been an experience trying to put together the proposal but after learning the hard way about fiction series’ I’m not about to waste a second of my time on work that no one wants to read. After all my scribbled notes are good enough for me… here’s with fingers crossed and waiting for a reply!

  • Sarah Jane Freymann Literary: Still in the research stage. http://www.sarahjanefreymann.com/ and also http://agencygatekeeper.blogspot.com/. I highly recommend reading their notes on the perfect pitch. I am in two minds about querying them as they don’t seem to have a lot of YA fiction on their selling lists. This to me says they don’t talk with all that many publishers and editors about YA and so may be limited in their contacts – though i could easily be wrong about this particular agency as that’s just my rule of thumb… we’ll see.

PAST SUBMISSIONS:

Agent/Date/response/what was sent

  • http://www.curtisbrown.com.au/ for Shadow Wisdom. Australian agents don’t have as much information out there as American agents – at least that’s what I’ve found, and the email address was generic so i hope i did the right thing in addressing the query to everyone in the office.http://austlitagentsassoc.com.au/members.html Said  “We prefer initial contact to be by phone or email” but their website says “We do not accept e-mailed or faxed submissions.” So I hope I’ve done the right thing in sending about three – four quick paragraphs by email as initial contact. I’m not keen on the up to 10 week turnaround but at least they’re honest about it on their website. So here’s to crossing my fingers. 15/7/10 I received a very quick and polite reply from Elle Brown with some great recommendations for other websites i can find other agents. So a no but a nice one.

  • Writers House: http://www.writershouse.com/Dan Lazar: For Shadow Wisdom mostly due to my previous like for Dan’s reputation and his note on wanting to represent a modern witch story – here’s to hoping my modern witch story will be good enough. 13/7/10 – An emailed ‘not for us’ was received on the 15/7/10 so by all accounts a quick turn around however it was exactly the same ‘not for us’ email from the last submission i sent in. I’ll admit that perhaps my work is simply to not them but it’s disheartening when they can’t even personally reply – do they not want writers to submit to them? They don’t need us anymore?

    “Thank you for your query. Dan Lazar asked me to reply after he evaluated your submission.

    We’re afraid your project does not seem right for our list, but thank you for thinking of Dan, and best of luck in your search for representation.”

– I’ve recieved this email twice now; anyone else?

  • Writers House: http://www.writershouse.com/Jodi Reamer: Yeah i know i was letting myself in for a NO here and she must get SOOO many queries by beginners and hopefuls such as myself but what writer doesn’t believe their work deserves the best? Written query sent in April 2010. written reply in March 2010. Great turnaround. Form letter from her assistant, very nice and polite. Sent her ‘Kemla’

  • Writers House: http://www.writershouse.com/Dan Lazar: A younger agent, might have more luck, but still a great agency and he likes the YA scene. E Query in May 2010, response was in a few days, very short but still polite.  Sent him ‘Kemla’.

Another R

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That’s number 2 for Kemla but at least via an E Query it was a quick R

It’s a little disappointing though when all of my research says ‘this is THE agent’ and the fact is i just can’t guess someone’s likes or dislikes.

And i know, as i read what others are saying, that so many people end up with hundreds of R’s before finding the right agent… do i still need to edit? I liked where it was at in those beginning pages but i can’t get an agent based on my likes so heres to more editing!

I’m very very hesitant to pay an editor to look over my work because i’ve done that before. $400 later and all i got back was the fact that my main character was saying ‘which’ and it should be ‘that’ because i had a teenage main character who probably wouldn’t say the word ‘which’.

Another Query

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I just hit send on my first E query and i am as nervous as i would be putting it in the post – if not more because i know the email’s already there whilst my letter would be sitting in a post bag now.

I made editions in the first half of the work after my last rejection and i’m thinking about doing another round of editing on book two shortly. my only hesitation on editing the other books is because i’m expecting to be told to change such and such or tweak my first book in some way. Which i’m willing to do (to a point i guess i haven’t been asked yet) however if i do that i will just have to re-edit books 2 and 3 so i might as well wait until book 1 is set in stone first???

Here’s for good luck Kemla

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