What’s up Wednesday: Revise

RobotWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

Still reading my ARC of The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas. I’m about 200 pages in and I think I may love it more than The Burning Sky. Plus, look at the pretty cover.

perilous

 

I haven’t had as much time for reading this week because of my writing news.

What I’m Writing

On Monday morning I received a revise and resubmit for my manuscript Redhunt. I was floored, if a little shocked. It’s with an agent I’m really excited to work with, and the notes were things I could see how to revise, and could see how they ultimately would strengthen the manuscript. I had come to a point with this book where I wondered — especially after finishing my new MS — should I move on? No, I hadn’t been querying it all that long, and really I hadn’t even queried all that widely. I had received multiple partial and full requests, but so far none had turned into an offer.

This is exciting not only because it is a fantastic opportunity to work with an agent, but a chance to give this book one more go through, one more reinvigoration, and see what happens. I am willing to do whatever is necessary to tell this story right.

What Inspires Me

The MS I am revising. My main character, Olie, is a hard voice to live with. She pushes at me, she makes me ache, she makes me angry, and she never does as she is told which is incredibly frustrating. I also know her so well that writing her is like breathing. I never question her voice, I just go with it. Being with her again (please, do not commit me, I promise I am sane) is a complicated thing, but a good one.

Having an agent get your book on this level is, easily, the biggest confidence boost ever.

Mumford & Sons, because they are my main soundtrack when working in this manuscript and I am excited to get to listen to them again. While I was writing Of Blood and Promises, I had to ban Mumford & Sons from my playlist. Their music is so synonymous in my head with Redhunt, that it distracted me.

What Else I’m Up To

I added a My Books page to this blog, because I have now written two novels. This felt like a milestone worth marking somehow.

My brother and his wife dedicated their baby at church on Sunday, and so of course they wanted to have a crawfish boil. I had never been to a crawfish boil. It was an experience. I am a little squidgy about shellfish, but I am always determined to experience different cultures than my own with an open mind. I will say, the part of the boil I enjoyed the most wasn’t the tiny, muddy creatures, but the telling of stories around the table.

crawfish

Happy Wednesday to all!

 

 

What’s up Wednesday

TreeWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

A lot of amazing beta reading happening here. I got to read my critique partner Susan’s incredible novel about a teenage Reaper who falls in love with the brother of a girl she reaps. I seriously laughed out loud and was brought to tears reading this manuscript. Not to mention, I am in love with one of the characters (not the love interest, though he is also dreamy) so it was extra fun for me. Then I read my friend Alex’s Middle Grade Fantasy manuscript about a girl who can talk to animals with a really unique magic system and interesting world. Lots of love for this manuscript and the well-drawn cast of characters. To sum up, I am a lucky girl.

Now I am doing more beta reading, along with reading an ARC of The Perilous Sea by Sherry Thomas. I seriously loved The Burning Sky, especially Titus and the Crucible and Eton College. This book is going to break my heart, I can feel it.

What I’m Writing

I did a revision on my recently completed MS, which is now titled Of Blood and Promises, then I wrote a query description, after that the synopsis. I switched gears to work on a screenplay I put on the back burner while writing my novel. After feedback from a trusted advisor, I am anxious to complete this screenplay and incorporate her notes.

I have been working on posts for I Believe in Story, the literary blog I contribute to. Last week I wrote a post about handling query rejections like a boss, which was a lot of fun, and kind of liberating.

What Inspires Me

I think Susan Dennard may be the best ever at explaining things. When preparing to write a query or synopsis — no matter how many times you have done it in the past — check out her blog for help. I know I have talked about it before, but it is worth repeating.

My brother and his wife are here from Israel. I haven’t seen them in a year, which means these last few weeks with my niece and my new baby nephew, have been precious. Talking with them about life in Israel, listening to them describe their home, and looking at my brothers incredible pictures, is definite food for the creative.

What Else I’m Up To

Tomorrow I am filming a promo video for my friend Lindsay Cummings’ upcoming debut, The Murder Complex. It’s awesome to use my filmmaking connections and experience to help her put something fun together for future readers.

My husband and I have been working our way through Veronica Mars. We are into the third season and it is a bummer to think we are almost finished.

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Easter Egg hunts with my kiddo. That’s hunts, plural. And then Church, which he was disappointed didn’t also include a hunt.

So…What’s up with you?

5 Steps to Handling Query Rejections Like a Boss

photo courtesy I Believe in Story

photo courtesy I Believe in Story

The life of an aspiring author is often likened to living on a rollercoaster. We are inspired to write a shiny new idea, we spend months pouring over said idea, writing and deleting, outlining, drafting, romancing the characters and their story, until we have a complete manuscript. We send it to critique partners or friends or husbands or wives who have no choice but to read. We revise our very soul onto the page and then we seal it in blood.

When all that has been accomplished, and a polished manuscript stares brightly back at us, we write our query. If we’re smart, we spit shine that baby as much as our manuscript. We pour over literary blogs for agent interviews, follow the #MSWL hashtag, make spreadsheets of agents we love who might love our book. Then, and hopefully only then, do we hit send.

More often than not querying results in rejection. Google query stats and you will find numerous blog posts on the subject. It will make you want to delete your query letter and go have a stiff drink in the afternoon.

Don’t do that. Read my guide instead.

Handling Rejection Like a Boss Step #1

Recognize that your query and the manuscript it’s pitching are not perfect, not right for everyone, and in the end, not the only thing in an agent’s inbox that needs attention. Agents have no obligation to you. Accept that and stop feeling entitled. Acceptance is the first step to almost anything. Really, it’s not that hard. Don’t be a whiner.

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To read the full post check out I Believe in Story, the stellar literary blog I contribute to, by clicking on the link below!

5 Steps to Handling Query Rejections Like a Boss

Literary Agent Interview : Kirsten Carleton of Sobel Weber Associates, Inc.

Everyone join me in a warm blog welcome to, Kirsten! I hope you guys enjoy getting to know her as much as I did.

clapping

Q: Let’s get the basics out of the way. How long have you been an agent and what was it that first attracted you to this profession in the first place?

Kirsten: I started at Sobel Weber in 2009. I’ve always been a huge reader, and for a long time, I thought I wanted to be a writer. After taking tons of writing workshops, I gradually realized that the part I liked best was giving feedback on other writers’ work, which led me to publishing. As an agent, I get to be completely in the author’s corner – his/her success is my success, so we’re working together for the same thing.

Q: Many reading this interview will be writers looking to query you with their novel. Tell us what you represent and what tops your submission wish list?

Kirsten: Right now, I’m looking for both YA and Adult fiction, literary and speculative. I love when those things overlap: novels that are both literary and speculative, for example, like Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell or The Magicians. Good writing is a must, and I look for strong storytelling, with a plot that moves.

Q: If there were one part of being an agent that made you want to happy dance under confetti, what would it be?

Kirsten: I love sharing a vision with a writer, and giving criticism that brings that vision to light. A lot of time, it’s just a matter of getting the author out of his/her own way. The best is when I send notes and the author responds by saying, “I knew this, I just didn’t know that I knew this.”

Q: What are a few things that will make you reject a query, hands down? What makes you jump for joy when you see it in a query?

Kirsten: Do your research. Make sure you’ve got the name of both the agency and the agent right, and that you’re querying a genre we represent. Follow the rules and treat it as professional correspondence. Tell me enough about your book that I have an idea of the story, but don’t give away the ending. Show me how well you write, but avoid gimmicks like writing the query as the main character. If you have blurbs or writing credits, include them, but I don’t need to know that God told you to write this book or that your mother really loves it. Please please please include contact information!

Q: What does a normal day look like in the life of a literary agent?

Kirsten: People always answer this by saying that there is no “normal” day, and that it varies depending on what’s on the docket. Unfortunately for the interview (but not for me), that’s basically the truth! A lot of the day is fielding email from authors and editors. I also report on and respond to submissions, and get in touch with writers whose short stories I’ve read. I don’t read or take notes at the office though – there’s no time!

Now, you’re not just a literary agent, but also a person with feelings and interests, a human being not a robot, a girl not yet a woman…you get the idea.

For some fun:

Q: If you could pick three literary, television, or film characters to travel with, who would they be and where would you go together?

Kirsten: Oh man, difficult. How about: Maddie from Code Name Verity for her sense of direction. Tyrion from Game of Thrones to talk us out of tricky situations and provide colorful commentary. And of course the Doctor, who can take us anywhere in time and space in his TARDIS.

Q: What’s a TV show you’re obsessed with? Book you wouldn’t put down even if Tom Hiddleston came in the room?

Kirsten: Right now, I’m reworking my way through Veronica Mars. I gave money to the Kickstarter, but lost track of the release date, so it’s a race to catch up before someone spoils the movie for me! I also just started Broken Harbor. I’m loving it, which is no surprise, since I’m a big fan of Tana French’s previous books.

Q: What do you do for fun that doesn’t involve books, movies, or the internet?

Kirsten: Since the weather’s finally nice today, I’m going to say hitting an outdoor happy hour with some friends. Dear weather: please stay nice!

Kirsten_Carleton_(full_size)

Bio:

As an agent, I get to be a champion for the author throughout the challenging publishing process. I love sharing an author’s vision for the book, working to help him or her uncover it, and finding a home for it with editors and readers who also feel that connection. Beyond the individual book, I want to develop satisfying and successful careers that celebrate great talent.

I’m currently seeking upmarket young adult, speculative, and literary fiction with strong characters and storytelling. I’m drawn to books that capture my attention early on with a dynamic plot, and innovative storytelling that blends or crosses genres.

Before joining Prospect Agency, I worked at Waxman Leavell and Sobel Weber Associates. I hold a B.A. in English with a Creative Writing concentration from Amherst College, and a Graduate Certificate in Publishing from the Columbia Publishing Course.

Prospect Agency :: Twitter

kirsten [at] prospectagency [dot] com

A hearty thanks to Kirsten for chatting with me, and to you guys for reading! If you feel your work will connect with Kirsten, learn more about how to submit to her by visiting Waxman Leavell’s website. 

What’s Up Wednesday : The Finished Draft Edition

AlienStarsWUWWhat’s Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, allowing us to touch base with blog friends and let them know what’s up. Should you wish to join us, you will find the link widget at the bottom of Jaime or Erin’s blog.

What I’m Reading

* Crickets *

Today I jump back into my reading pile. While in the writing cave, the time I didn’t spend writing was spent brain dead. I have some special manuscripts to read, some books sitting on my nightstand and waiting on my computer, plus an ARC of my friend Lindsay Cummings forthcoming Middle Grade novel The Balance Keepers. This next week is all about the reading.

What I’m Writing

That manuscript that has been in progress since August 2013, well, it is no longer in progress, but completed.

I feel like this:

celebrateAnd this:

tired-puppy

And my hair looks like this:

insane

There are revisions ahead, as always, but I look forward to them. After a read through it’s off to CPs and onto titling and summarizing and stuffs. Right now, basking. The time for basking is here.

What Inspires Me

See above.

The same night I finished my manuscript, my CP Susan finished hers. We have given feedback to each other for about a year now, but these manuscripts are the first we’ve written and critiqued from the beginning. We have ridden the drafting raft together. We have talked each other off ledges. We have encouraged beautiful words and helped note problem passages. Finishing together…just feels right.

The incredible outpouring of excitement and love from friends, both within the writing community and outside it, when I announced I finished my draft.

Requests from CPs and writer friends that I SEND THE MANUSCRIPT NOW! You guys are the bees knees. For serious.

heart

What Else I’m Up To

My son ran a fever last night. His allergies are awful this time of year, every year. We can’t get ahead of them, it seems. My mom, who is a Master Gardener, got him some local Bee Pollen to help. Now to get him to take it everyday.

We spent the morning talking, and honestly, I can’t think of anything I’d rather do today anyway.

Sam: Mommy, I’m using my imagination.

Me: Love it!

Sam: Do you use your imagination?

Me: Yep, everyday.

Sam: What do you do with it?

Me: I create worlds, and characters, and write stories about those worlds and characters.

Sam: I want to create a world.

And for the next half hour we did just that.

Happy Wednesday everyone!