Tuesday, September 06, 2011

So much news to report, although still no agent

I really need to start blogging more consistently.  In any event, here is a (brief, I hope) run-down of what's going on right now.

First, the Traveler full manuscript is still out with one agent, but with time passing, it's looking quite likely it'll be a pass.  From the feedback we've gotten, we realized that the pace at the beginning needs to be sped up considerably, so we've been working on edits to accomplish just that.  We're almost done with that process, cutting about 10,000 words if that gives you any indication of the depth of our cuts.  Before we start sending it out again, I want to post it on Critique Circle to get feedback from other writers.  If all looks well from the critiques then we'll pick back up on querying.

Speaking of Critique Circle, I've found it to be a great learning tool.  On it, you can spend credits to post your work for critique, and you get those credits by critiquing other people's work.  I haven't yet had my first piece up for review, but I've been spending a lot of time critiquing other people's work.  I've found this to be amazingly enlightening about what works and what doesn't.  Also, I read the critiques by other writers on pieces that I critiqued which shows me even more things that I may not have thought of.  I highly recommend the site (or others like it) for all writers.  It has already greatly enriched my own writing and editing process.

Beyond that, since the last time I posted, I wrote another novel (I wrote the entire thing in 3 weeks--I was inspired, what can I say?).  This one is a Young Adult Contemporary piece that is very important to me because it's loosely based on real events that happened in my own life.  Right now I've put it away for a few weeks so that I can get some distance from it before I begin my edits in earnest, but I've posted the first three chapters on Critique Circle to get feedback.  I'm excited to find out what they have to say (although a bit terrified).  

In non-writing news, I decided not to go back to Temple so that I can focus on my writing (grad school is a 50+ hour per week venture).  I am determined to make my writing a success (which I define as getting published), and there was no way that I could do both.  Plus, as it turned out, I'm just not into research which is what you do in grad school.  The program doesn't pay enough for me to stay in it if I don't love it, so I figured the fair thing to do would be to leave. 

Moreover, I've accepted a Fall Fellowship with the Obama campaign that runs from mid-September to early December.  I'll be organizing volunteers (after I round some up), and I'm looking forward to it, although I'm concerned about my workload.  The hours I'll work for the fellowship are 1-9, so my plan is to use the mornings to work on writing/editing/querying.  That's going to make for a lot of long days, but since I love writing and I love politics, hopefully it won't seem that way.  I'm doing this for two reasons: (1) I love my country and if I can volunteer to help out I want to, and (2) it gives me community organizing experience which is a good Plan B.  (Moreover, while this is not a paid position, these fellowships often lead to paying positions inside the campaign, so I have my fingers crossed about that.)

I'm also planning on getting more involved in local politics (both to buttress my work for the Obama campaign as well as because I enjoy politics).  Next week, for instance, I'm planning on going to the local Cheltenham democratic meeting.  Hopefully that'll be fun.  I'm going to spend the next few months shaking a lot of hands and handing out a lot of cards.

Speaking of cards, I got a bunch of business cards to use at the writer's conference that I'll be attending next month.  I have a pitch session in front of an agent lined up that I'm excited about.  I'm going to pitch my new novel because Michelle & I had already queried this agent re: Traveler.  I'm also going to mingle mingle mingle and hope that I can land my big break.

Another way that I'm increasing my chances of my big break happening is that this coming weekend I'm going to attend a local pitchapalooza.  For that, 20 people out of a crowd of usually hundreds are randomly selected to give their pitch, and the winning participant is set up with an agent.  Just such an event is how Genn Albin (an amazing new author that I am lucky enough to be friends with--well, at least on facebook--she does comment on my posts sometimes ;)) got her big break, so I'm hoping that lightening can strike twice.

I love all of you and I want to say thank you for all of your support.  I know that Michelle's & my break is right around the corner, and you know that when it happens, you'll be the first to hear about it.  (OK, that's a lie.  Michelle will be the first to hear, then Max, then my mom, then anyone within shouting distance, and then you.)