WIPMarathon Check-In #8

Last Check-in: Ugh.

Current: *sigh*

WIP Issues this week: As I’ve said, this entire WIP Marathon, I’d planned to kick out the first draft of something that had been brewing while I tied up loose ends up on my last MS. And yet, the ENTIRE Marathon, I’ve done nothing but revisions for that other MS. I got basic plotting and world building done for my space opera, but honestly, I think even that will sit and wait. Since I wasn’t working on a new WIP as planned, general issues this week have been with myself. Those little voices that whisper things like, “You’re delusional if you think this is ever going to happen.” Reading amazing published books that make me feel like a child in a Fisher Price kitchen or workbench, trying to imitate her parents. That’s how I’ve felt lately. Immersive, wonderfully written books inspire me, don’t get me wrong. But at the same time, they’ve been making me feel like it could take another 10 manuscripts before I write “the one.” If I ever do. And I just can’t deal with that kind of negativity. This year is about being happy, being hopeful, and being positive.

So that little voice can keep on whispering, and while I may listen to it for a minute, an hour, or a day, the next day I expect to get up and get back to work, trying to better myself and my craft little by little. Because the people who make it are the ones who don’t give up, and I don’t plan to give up.

What I learnt this week in writing: Not so much something I learned this week, but something I’m learning all the time: subjective, subjective, subjective. I have a few friends whose stories were also in Pitch Wars, and they received NO requests from participating agents. These stories are well-crafted, engaging, entertaining, and stories I’d pick off a shelf and buy. It’s never down just to talent, unique ideas, great dialogue, intriguing descriptions, perfect grammar, developed characters, complete arcs, etc. You could have all of that but if the agent in question already has something similar, or isn’t into spies or succubi or secretaries or whatever your story is about, then you’re out of luck. And that’s just how the industry rolls. It’s a harsh reality.

This was a fun distraction as well: tickets to my double-date with Gimli and "I" :)
This was a fun distraction as well: tickets to my double-date with Gimli and “I” 🙂

What distracted me this week while writing: Pitch Wars. Burns Night yesterday, though we don’t need a reason to eat haggis in our house. I LOVE it 🙂 Not much else exciting happened, apart from I allowed myself to watch Star Trek: Nemesis for the first and last time. How I avoided knowing the ending for so long is beyond me, but I found it thoroughly upsetting.

Last 200 words: Alas, still revising. I think I’ll be ready to share words only after the marathon is finished, and this saddens me!

I haven’t achieved what I set out to on this marathon, but I’m SO glad I’ve participated because I’ve met some great people whose progress has been nothing short of inspirational, and I’m rooting for you all! 🙂


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WIPMarathon Check-In #2 … and PITCH WARS!

Not only am I a day late with this post, I’m also behind on reading others’ posts. Hoping to catch up today!

Winter's day at Dyrham Park
Winter’s day at Dyrham Park

Last Check-in Wordcount: I don’t even know how to answer this. I can say I finished the MS polish I was working on and I’ve set it aside and am walking away! So there’s that 🙂

Current WC + CC (or SC): Nada. Today I’m going to attempt to get through 2 craft books I’ve been wanting to read, and then on to starting to draft the WIP (finally) tomorrow.

WIP Issues this week: I think first chapters are my personal hurdle. Queries I’m getting the hang of, after so much excellent feedback and helpful clinics, bootcamps, tutorials, and classes online. The WIP I was polishing? I decided to rewrite the first 250 and see if I could start off with more of a bang, and spread the worldbuilding and character info further on, so to get to the protag’s immediate problem, well, immediately.

I think I’ve done this, but of course, it being a whole TWO DAYS LATER, I feel the need to go over it again and see what I can make even shinier. 😛

What I learnt this week in writing: I was prompted to revisit my first chapter by these two links, from agent Suzie Townsend at New Leaf, and Chuck Sambuchino. Great advice.

What distracted me this week while writing: Pitch Wars, Pitch Wars, Pitch Wars. I was chosen to be part of #TeamNinja as first alternate with A BREATH OF SILVER by urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and New Adult author  Tina Moss! WOOHOO! 🙂 I’m armed with throwing stars! 😀

Last 200 words: I’m going to skip this bit this week only (and I hate to do that! I love reading everyone else’s!) because I was polishing this past week, and I’m not sure it’s exactly right so I don’t want to put it out there yet. But next week… watch this space 🙂

Looking forward to catching up on my #WIP Marathon buddies’ websites. Oh yeah, and Christmas is happening soon, too! 10 days away. And you know what that means, fellow sun-worshippers. There are only SIX DAYS LEFT before the days start getting longer again. The gloomy England winter is upon us, but the more sunlight I see, the less likely I am to feel like this all day long.

Have a great week!

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Determination’s gotta win, right?

Yesterday, I got an amazing email.

An agent sought me out (from the PitchWars contest), and I’ve been following her on Twitter and keeping up on her for literally years. When she asked for pages, and then a full, I was on the floor in hysterics. SO. Excited. It felt right. It felt like after all this time, the door I so badly wanted to open was beginning to let in some light.

Yesterday, that email came. As my husband and other lovely encouragers and CPs have pointed out, it’s a very positive rejection (if such a thing exists). She said she loved the story and details, it was well-written, and the way the music themes were woven into it is something she looks for in her authors. That’s the most I’ve received from any agent in the way of positive feedback. But I couldn’t see that. In fact, right now, all I can really see if that she didn’t connect with my characters enough, or the pacing didn’t grab her and keep her on the edge of her seat (well, it’s not a thriller, but I get what she’s saying she prefers, I guess) the way she’d like.

Lots of agents do R&Rs. At worst I thought she’d do that, and I’d tighten it and tidy it according to her suggestions and the world would be an amazing place. I began writing this story in 2006. I’ve learned SO much through it. It’s a part of me, in so many ways, and I’ve put hours beyond counting into making this what I want it to be, but also what I hope others would enjoy. So when she didn’t ask for an R&R, I pretty much felt like the world turned dark and crumbled around me.

Basically how I've been feeling for the past 12 hours.
Basically how I’ve been feeling for the past 12 hours.

It’s my dream to be published, to write books with my life and focus wholly on that. Part of that dream is also to have an amazing agent who gets what I’m trying to say, who loves my voice, and who helps me better myself. So while an offer to publish from a small publisher came through PitMad, I decided to turn it down. That in itself is a huge encouragement that my story has some zing to it that somebody likes. I gave it careful thought, but I really do want to work with an agent, and that publisher and I weren’t the fit I was hoping for, so as honoured as I am, it’s not right for me.

I’m determined to reach my dream. Several times in my life, I’ve had my heart set on something, and as preposterous as it might’ve sounded to those around me, I reached for it, and got it. It might not have had a happy ending, but it melded into my personality over the years to stay determined and I could reach what I was really trying for. There’s no bigger dream than finding others who enjoy and believe in my writing, and making it the THING THAT I DO. It’s not just a hobby to me.

But there’s more to it than that, and I’m ashamed to admit it but we’re all friends, right? Since graduating at the top of my class as a mature student in 2010, I felt like nothing could stop me when I put my mind to it.

Some of you know that a LOT has stopped me since then. I’ve applied endlessly for jobs I can totally do, and most of the time not even received a response to my application. For 2.5 years. Writing AND applying for jobs?


And yet, that’s what I’ve been doing. My long-time favourite author, Simon R. Green, has a story that’s stuck with me. If you don’t know who he is, check him out. I’ve been reading (and re-reading) his books since I was 12. He’s the New York Times Bestselling author of the DEATHSTALKER series, an amazing space opera, and my personal favourite, BLUE MOON RISING, and the HAWK & FISHER series.

He had years and years of rejection letters before all his success, and then, after 3.5 years of being out of work, just TWO days after he finally got hired at a book store in Bath, he sold SEVEN NOVELS. In one year.

Granted, those were very different times for the publishing industry, but the idea stays the same. The man was struggling big time, but he was determined. I guess in my silly old head, I’ve been dreaming that some similar story would happen to me. That all this time trying to find where I fit in to the world – despite the 1st class degree and hard-work-pays-off uni experience that mocks me endlessly now – would not be for nothing; that it would have to have a happy ending.

I still believe it will. It doesn’t change the fact that I cried for about 2 hours last night, but I’m really thankful to the CPs and friends who’ve read some/all of my ms and told me not to give up. Besides, I’ve still got another year to catch up to Simon. (right?)

I know that my attitude right now is having a little freak-out and I’m not feeling on top of the world like I did when the agent and I were exchanging emails, and she was saying how excited she was to finish reading. I feel worse than I can remember feeling. But I need to suck it up, so hopefully by the end of the day I’ll start to get back on top of things, and know she just wasn’t the agent for me after all (despite what every cell in my body was telling me two days ago). So… this:


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