By admin On Feb 17 2010, 7:02 pm
I made some New Year’s resolutaions that involved doing more to further my writing career. Which means going out an finding professionals to tell me what my work is missing, why agents are continuously rejecting my stories. I get plenty of requests for manuscripts, so I must write a pretty good query letter, but the story itself falls down somewhere and ultimately I get the dreaded ‘not for us’ letter.
I went to a Mentoring Conference recently. I paid for a NY editor to look over 30 pages and my synopsis. I know everyone hates writing synopsis, but I’m not bad at it. Actually she said it was excellent. Except that it was too long. So I need to snip and tuck a little. I was ready for a fine NY tongue-lashing, for her to tell me all the ways my story was wrong, wrong, wrong. I had prepared for it, trained for it. But it wasn’t that bad. I agreed with everything she said, and she was really super-nice. The biggest change is that it wasn’t ‘YA’ enough. The editor thought it read like a tween novel, which is what I usually write, so not really that shocking. I need to, um, add some more Victorian teenaged sexual tension. Okay, I guess I can do that.
But something still doesn’t seem right. It’s definitely an improvement, but I just can’t put my finger on why my writing doesn’t seem as good as some of the books I’ve read. So I’m signing up for the NJSCBWI annual conference, taking a day and a half of classes on various subjects in the area of children’s writing. I’m going to give a first page to a reader and have agents and editors tear it apart. The first 15 pages of the WIP is going back to a group critique, for other writers to take me out for another round. I’m going to wrestle this puppy and until it’s ridiculously wonderful or I have no hair left. I’m going to cut and trim and make my characters go through horrible things.
It’s the book or me this time!
Writing is not for the faint of heart. In fact it’s pretty much a bloodsport. If you don’t have your thick skin on, don’t get in the ring, because in order to be good, you have to be willing to put take some hits, put it all on the line and have someone tell you it isn’t perfect. Because in the end, it’s not about you. It’s about the story, and about what readers want.
If you can’t do that, stay home.