Tuesday, March 6, 2012

I, uh, dropped the ball

February was a crazy month. Yep, my first writers' conference, my first experience of pitching to agents. Since the beginning of January, I worked hard on getting the WIP (Restoring Experience) into the best shape I could in order to pitch it at the conference. I read articles and books on writing, pitching, and querying that I should have read months ago. It felt like cramming for SATs. Then, at the conference, a brilliant editor (Alan Rinzler) asked me to send him my book, so for a solid week I did nothing but revise, revise, revise (yes, again) to get the MS ready for him.

I sent it out two days ago, Sunday.

And I feel liberated.

Perhaps "liberated" isn't the word you would've used. And yes--every time the ding of new mail sounds, my heart gives a jolt of 6.0 on the Richter scale. That's Alan, I think. He read the first page and hated it, knows it's beyond saving, he's seen it for the useless piece of crap it is. When I see it's not Alan but instead a chirpy marketing email full of HTML and jarring colors I think, he probably doesn't know how to tell me how bad it is. I'll never hear from him again. Then another ding (yes, I get a LOT of chirpy marketing emails) and it starts all over again.

Doesn't sound very liberating, does it?

But it is. For better or for worse, I've let go. The manuscript is now in the hands of a professional who will evaluate it and assess it, and tell me honestly whether I've wasted ten months of my life or not. With that feedback (and that bit about not hearing from him is just pure Mexican insecurity at its best--Alan is nothing if not a gentleman, and an honest one to boot. When he gives me feedback, I'm pretty sure he won't pull any punches. I hope) the second- and third-guessing myself will finally be over--is Restoring Experience good enough, or isn't it?

And by good enough I don't mean it's ready to publish--not by a long shot. But is it good enough to work on? Every book, even the fiftieth novel by whoever your favorite author is, needs an editor. I believe that. So Restoring Experience, being my Novel Zero (yeah, I'm not even counting it as my First Novel yet), will need lots and lots of TLC--a godparent, so to speak. If Alan likes it enough to want to work with me on it, I'll be flattered (and encouraged) beyond belief.

Bottom line, I've got some free time. To blog, yes. To catch up with critiques in my writing group. To catch up, too, with household chores. We built a new perimeter wall last November, which needs painting. My closet is overflowing with stuff that needs either new space or a new home. The garden has been patient, but my neglect is beginning to get to it. I also want to read--brought back eight kilos of books from San Francisco (future post on that, I promise).

So I'll blog. I'll try to catch up with my writing group and chores around the house. I'll spend some quality time with my dogs and cat, and with the sofa and one of the many good books I bought. And I'll wait for Alan to get back to me.

Coffee, anyone?


  1. I've been wondering how you've been and if you enjoyed the conference :)

    Nice to see you back, and I hope Alan gives you some great feedback :)

    1. Ms. Monkey! Thank you so much! I did--it was wonderful. Thanks for the good wishes. I'm sure I'll be posting about it here (soon, I hope) :D Over to your blog to check up on what you've been up to :) Have a great day!

    2. I forgot to mention, I love that you didn't say how many books your brought back ;)

      The husband and I always joke about eating/buying/carrying/etc '40 pounds of...' so I found it amusing that you brought back '8 kilos' of books ;)

      ...our other go-to-guestimation phrase is 'gallometer' - coined by my 4 year old nephew (a combo between gallon and kilometre) to refer to a large unmeasured unit of distance/weight/volume/etc.

  2. 1. You didn't drop the ball. In fact, you've been doing the most important thing you can be as a writer by whipping your manuscript into shape and sending it out. Despite what anyone says about social networking and the like, that's way more important than making a few blog posts and writing groups and so on.

    2. Even if the editor doesn't like this book--heck, even if it never becomes publishable--you didn't waste ten months. Did you learn anything about writing in those ten months? Did you not get practice creating sentences, paragraphs, stories? That will all come in handy in the future. And if your first book really is already at a publishable stage, then you're way ahead of most writers. Isn't there some saying about needing to write a million words of crap before you can write one good one?

    1. Kristin, thank you--you're so right. Getting that MS into shape is truly the most important thing, and thank you for the support. As for the "wasted" months--again, you're right. I learned a HEAP of stuff by writing this novel (all twenty-something drafts of it, and yes, at least a million of those words WERE indeed crap :D). Thank you for the kind words, and for stopping by. Now I'm off to your blog to catch up!

  3. This is going to work.
    I feel it in my ole bones.
    Fingers crossed and all the Gods, yes, the million-and-one Gods, prayed to.

    1. Thank you so much, Mira! Your encouragement means a lot (as do the multitude of prayers crowding every known heaven and other God-dwelling places :) ). Thanks for the visit!

  4. Good morning how are you?
    My name is Emilio, I am a Spanish boy and I live in a town near to Madrid. I am a very interested person in knowing things so different as the culture, the way of life of the inhabitants of our planet, the fauna, the flora, and the landscapes of all the countries of the world etc. in summary, I am a person that enjoys traveling, learning and respecting people's diversity from all over the world.
    I would love to travel and meet in person all the aspects above mentioned, but unfortunately as this is very expensive and my purchasing power is quite small, so I devised a way to travel with the imagination in every corner of our planet. A few years ago I started a collection of used stamps because trough them, you can see pictures about fauna, flora, monuments, landscapes etc. from all the countries. As every day is more and more difficult to get stamps, some years ago I started a new collection in order to get traditional letters addressed to me in which my goal was to get at least 1 letter from each country in the world. This modest goal is feasible to reach in the most part of countries, but unfortunately it’s impossible to achieve in other various territories for several reasons, either because they are countries at war, either because they are countries with extreme poverty or because for whatever reason the postal system is not functioning properly.
    For all this I would ask you one small favour:
    Would you be so kind as to send me a letter by traditional mail from Netherlands Antilles? I understand perfectly that you think that your blog is not the appropriate place to ask this, and even, is very probably that you ignore my letter, but I would call your attention to the difficulty involved in getting a letter from that country, and also I don’t know anyone neither where to write in Netherlands Antilles in order to increase my collection. a letter for me is like a little souvenir, like if I have had visited that territory with my imagination and at same time, the arrival of the letters from a country is a sign of peace and normality and an original way to promote a country in the world. My postal address is the following one:
    Emilio Fernandez Esteban
    Avenida Juan de la Cierva, 44
    28903 Getafe (Madrid)
    If you wish, you can visit my blog www.cartasenmibuzon.blogspot.com where you can see the pictures of all the letters that I have received from whole World.
    Finally I would like to thank the attention given to this letter, and whether you can help me or not, I send my best wishes for peace, health and happiness for you, your family and all your dear beings.

    Yours Sincerely

    Emilio Fernandez


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