Raven got his first solid rejection yesterday!
And as I’d hoped, it came with useful criticism on pacing and plot issues. The more distance I get from that manuscript, the more I suspect there is still plenty of editing work to be done, and now I have a few ideas of what direction to take.
We’ll see what sort of answer comes from the other agent who has the manuscript in her hands.
I haven’t been at this very long, but I have two pieces of advice for writers beginning the submission process:
1: Keep writing while your manuscript is out. Start something completely unrelated. The more I get excited about Featherfolk and other stories, the less I feel Raven and the Trinketeers is the pinnacle of my work. I’m still on the uphill climb, still improving. There are even more amazing things to come. So if I can’t ever get Raven into shape for publication, I’ll be fine.
2: Remember that you are not your story. You are not even your career. You are a son or daughter of God, and whether or not someone likes your work or wants to publish it has nothing at all to do with your worth as a person. Good news or bad news can’t rock you if you remember that.
Now, back to scribbling.
It’s time for Raven to test his wings (pun so intended). With the help of friends and family, I believe I’ve polished the manuscript up as much as I can.
Compiling a list of agents to query, checking all their submission guidelines, scrolling queryshark to learn the dos and don’ts–it’s all starting to feel a lot like hunting for a job, which is one of the the most miserable things I’ve ever had to do.
It makes me want to retreat to a safer task, like sewing or knitting. Something where if I screw up nobody has to know, and I can always go back and fix it.
But that’s not going to get me published.
This last weekend I had the opportunity to help out with a conference for the teens in my congregation. The theme for the conference was Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
It seems I needed to hear that message as much as the kids did.
I can do hard things. I can face inevitable rejection.
Will Raven’s story get published? Maybe. Will I learn how to be a better and more professional author? Yes. Will my experiences help me get something else published someday? Definitely!
So I’m going to grit my teeth and send out those first queries–and try to keep things in perspective.
At the end of Camp NaNoWriMo, I had a conundrum. My Camp project was 50,000 words long, but several chapters shy of “The End.” Meanwhile, I had a mostly-finished fourth draft of another story to finish up, which I’d set aside for the month of April. And upon picking that up once more, I realized it was going to need more than a quick read-through to finalize the draft.
What to work on?
Raven’s story was begging to be finished so I could start querying agents and trying to get it published, yet if I were to put Lia’s story away, losing all my excitement and momentum, I knew I might not get back to it for a long, long time.
Working on both simultaneously also wasn’t looking good. I have to turn on super-editing-mode at this point with Raven, and getting the editor to shut up when I want to pump out a first draft was causing Lia’s story to stall out.
(Not to mention they take place in different universes, with different cultures and magic systems. Lia’s story alone contains three distinct magic systems and three different narrators.)
After whining about it to my writing buddy Whitney, I came to a decision. I’ll let Raven sit and stew a little longer. After all, it didn’t hurt him during April. I’m going to stop being lazy and sprint for the end of Lia’s story with NaNoWriMo-esque speed.
Happy Yarning! (<–my battle cry)
What creative conundrums have you faced and vanquished lately?