Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Day 87 of 365: One Last Hurrah

If I haven't mentioned it enough, this week is purely a preparation week for NaNoWriMo. I'm making outlines and brainstorming what is going to happen when. I'm trying to schedule posts for my crafts blog so I don't have to worry about it for a solid month. I'm trying to get a last few rounds of edits in my second manuscript so I'll feel comfortable leaving it alone for 30 days.

And I sent my last query for my first manuscript.

Like I have mentioned before, I have little hopes for my first manuscript. The publishing world is tough enough for any book, but a book that deconstructs chick literature is not exactly in high demand. I might also have started seeing this manuscript the way a veteran agent might see it. I read over the first chapter and find myself editing every other line -- a first chapter that has probably been edited and rewritten three or four times by now (and that's only counting the major edits).

I wrote this book when I was 22, and it's safe to say that I've changed a lot as a writer over the last 5 years. I'd be a bit worried if I read over my old works and went, "Well, nothing to be improved here! My, I am an exceptional writer!" It's good to look over old work and shake your head in some way, the same way it's good to look over old high school photos and shake your head. The last thing you want to do is pine over your high school yearbook and marvel about your "glory days".

One of the best bits of advice I got from a writer was to not let the query process interfere with your writing. Or, at the very least, recognize that the query process will interfere with your writing, and do your best to find ways around it. Writing a first draft is writing with the doors closed (a line I've stolen a million times from Stephen King). Agent-searching is not only opening the door, but posting a neon sign above the house itself, inviting people to come in and openly reject your work. All you can think about is other people's reactions: if you're good enough, if you're marketable enough. Suddenly you're confined to what others may think of your work. This isn't exactly a good breeding ground for writing new material.

I only submit my first manuscript to one agency at a time anyway, so I figured I would get the November rejection out of the way early so I can focus on my third book. I'm essentially checking to make sure the oven is off before going on a trip, even though I know I hadn't baked anything recently. I'll have enough on my mind once November hits. It seems silly, given that I finished my second novel last December in the midst of everything happening at once, but I really want to do this novel right. If any of my ideas are marketable, it's going to be this one. So no half-assing.

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