It’s been almost two months since my last blog post, and that’s because I’ve been busy AF. In the writing community, fall is a very busy time with several big events and contests going on. Who knew?
First, I wanted to finish a revision, write and hone a synopsis, and refine my query letter in time to submit to #PitchWars, a very cool mentorship program. If you’re not familiar, I recommend checking it out. However, I have to admit that I don’t really expect to get much out of it other than a much better query package than I went in with, especially now that there’s only one week left to go and none of the mentors I applied to have asked for more pages of my manuscript. The most beneficial thing I got out of #PitchWars was a hard deadline, which is how I work best. I probably would have farted around on my revision until after the holidays if I hadn’t had a concrete thing for which I had to be prepared by a specific date. This way, I had time to send the finished MS to several non-writer beta readers to give me feedback. If they get back to me with things I need to address, I can do those revisions over the holidays instead of farting around on the previous revision. WIN!
The second thing I’ve been working on is cleaning up my agent list for querying. I already had a list of almost 900 agents at almost 200 agencies, many of whom I’d already ruled out due to them not repping science fiction, MSWL incompatibility, etc. But the world of literary agents is anything but static, so I wanted to check for updates and get my data more organized. Yes, there are sites out there that do this, but they are incomplete and often out of date. I’m still working on the tail end of it – I literally found yet another agency just a couple hours ago – but I’ve found several agents to send my newly-polished queries off to, testing the waters a bit. I know my query is solid thanks to getting a pages request from a pitch event at a convention, so now I’m waiting to see if my revised pages get any requests and basically sitting on my hands to keep myself from sending more queries before I start getting responses. Waiting is the worst. If nothing else, the publishing industry teaches patience, which is something I’ve always found challenging. I am not a patient Human.
The third thing I’ve been working on is reading other people’s work, both published and unpublished. I’m fortunate to have a couple great critique partners who have really helped me hone my manuscript, and I still owe one of them several chapter critiques, which I look forward to doing this weekend. The highlights of my non-critique reading have been Linden A. Lewis’s The Second Rebel (so so good!!) and Stephen King’s On Writing. As a plotting-averse writer, it was truly gratifying to hear the perspective of a wildly successful pantser. I didn’t agree with everything he said (I fuckin’ love TV, y’all, no way I’m giving that up) but I completely identified with his description of writing as unearthing a fossil, discovering what it is as you go.
The fourth item on my fall agenda has been prepping for NaNoWriMo, which I have never successfully completed but credit with getting me writing again. In 2014, when I was doing my last show as a costume designer, the prop designer asked me what I was going to do with all my extra time working a normal full-time job instead of the 60-80 hours per week I’d been averaging for years. It was October and I’d wanted to do NaNo for a long time, but never could because I always had a giant show opening at the beginning of December and couldn’t spare the time. When I realized I could do it that year, I got so excited! I even started a little early. But then I wrote maybe 6,000 words the entire month, so I figured maybe writing wasn’t as important to me as I thought. Two weeks later I got inspired and wrote 150,000 words in two weeks! (It was hella cold outside and I was too broke to pay for internet, soooooo . . .) NaNo primed the pump that got my creative energy flowing. I can’t wait to start drafting my next WIP, revisiting a short story that should always have been a novella at the very least. Fingers crossed that I’ll actually finish this time!
I hope all of you have been enjoying the excitement of fall in the writing community, with lots of little victories of your own.