Monday, January 7, 2013

Writing Rites of Passage

Wow, it's been a while. Since I've talked on the blog, anyway. I've thrown up a few TED talks, but those posts are more about sharing other people's ideas.

I have been in a major time of transition--finishing a novel and starting to query. Yup, I've started to put my work out there.

So, I haven't been using this platform as a voice recently. But I've also been busy on other (writing) fronts--finding office space and doing work for the NESCBWI conference. I'm sure I'll talk more about those things soon.

Right now I'm trying to decide what to work on while waiting for query responses. I have so many projects in various forms of completion, since I have been doing this writing novels thing for such a good long time. I might work on a MG contemporary fantasy, a tween contemporary fantasy, a YA cyber thriller, or a YA humorous contemporary (an almost spy novel). I think I'm leaning toward the YA cyber thriller, since the novel I'm querying is a YA urban-futuristic-psych thriller. Sounds awesome, doesn't it? :) And, no, I don't call it that in my query. :P

And, I don't know if the novel that I'm querying will land me an agent. There's just so much out of my control. But as far as my evolution as a writer, I believe I'm there.

Here's my know-you're-ready-for-an-agent checklist:

Made a complete fool out of myself in front of an agent at a conference. Check. I know, most of the time I seem relatively put-together when you meet me in person. But, boy, occasionally the wallflower in me comes out, and I can't string together actual words into coherent sentences. It's a rite of passage. :) I hope.

Toted my kids to writer events all over the state. Check. Their response now is, "You mean, we have to meet ANOTHER writer?" The honeymoon is definitely over. Except, of course, for this chick, who continues to have rock-star status at our house.

Revised my philosophy into: Butt-in-chair no matter how I feel about the current project, shoot for the stars and believe they're reachable, but understand that there is so much about this career choice that I have no control over. Know that rejections don't make me any less of a writer but sometimes can help me become more of a writer. Check.  Not that I have such a rosy attitude every single day, but even when I don't, I still do the writing.

Have cheerleaders (a.k.a. crit partners) from every walk of the writing spectrum. Check. There is nothing like having a published author point out that you learned a comma rule incorrectly and need to go back and relearn. So embarrassing. I tell myself that most people have a quirk like this that they have to rectify. We're all human. :) We all have bad (writing) habits.

Decided not to give up on my writing career, multiple times. Check. Although, I don't know how much power I have over this. No matter what conscious decisions I make, I always end up writing. Call it a compulsion. Plus, I don't know how to make cherry pie. Yup, I'm shameless. I linked to my own blog post. But reading about how L'Engle was rejected for an entire decade before anything of hers was published is so heartwarming. (Or maybe not--depends on perspective!)

So, does you're I'm-ready checklist look anything like mine?

How do you survive querying? How did you snag your agent? If you are an agent, what kind of check-list do you look for in your clients?

Happy New Year, everyone!


  1. Cool, H! Glad to hear how you are doing!

  2. Very cool! Looks like you have your choice of projects to work on next. But yes, it does make sense to work on something that is within the same genre. :) Good luck!

  3. Good for you, Heather! Must feel good to be ready to query (although a bit scary!). Good luck to you!!! I hope 2013 is wonderful for you!

  4. Laura--I agree. Same genre is good. :)

    Kelly--Querying is a weird thing. It's good to forget it is happening most of the time. Happy New Year, Kelly!!