Saturday, May 25, 2013
Go Take A Flying Leap
But this particular dream comes with some very scary steps. Writing the book actually seems easy in comparison. Because after it's all written? I had to let people actually read my book. Well, people other than my mom. And what if those people didn't like my main character? What if all my ingenious lines of dialogue came off as flat instead of funny? What if I used the wrong form of 'their'?
And some of that did happen. One person still refers to my main character as a major wimp (I'm looking at you, Betsy!), but that doesn't mean she isn't right. Along with the big scary process of reading my work out loud while others scratched through lines of perfection or didn't care about what shoes my characters were wearing or how long their flowing locks of hair are, I survived. I got hearts and smiley faces. They applauded my dialogue. What's more is that they have made me a better writer. Now, when I'm editing, I hear their voices in my head, telling me to get to the point, amp up the snark, or tone down the adverbs. (And I always use the correct form of 'their.')
As wonderful as my progress is, it's still not a finished book. There's another scary step to take. And this one is a doozy: sending out query letters. This is where I contact agents or publishers, tell them about my book, and then ask them if they'd like to read it, too. Many, many, many of these letters will be answered with a form letter saying "no, thanks." And that will hurt. It will hurt a lot, like if I offered them a portion of my soul, all chocolate-coated and gift-wrapped, only to have them smack it out of my hands and then stomp it to a mushy mess on the sidewalk. And I will have to be polite about it, dip the next piece of soul in chocolate and go on to another potential rejection.
But I'm still gonna do it. This year. Sometime. I've got months left. But it will happen. I'm just trying to be as prepared as possible, hence the group allowed to slash my manuscript and tying back together again. And I have beta readers that aren't actually related to me. A beta reader is someone who reads the manuscript as if it were an actual book, then gives the author feedback, like which parts were confusing, boring, exciting, intriguing, or just awesome. My book has all of those.
One more way to prepare for the offering of my truffled soul is to have an editor look over the manuscript. A real editor. Someone who dissects prose and plot for a living, not just a buddy who took some English classes in college. And I have a chance to do just that! Rachel from Fantasy Editing is hosting a contest (and I totally stole the Samuel Beckett quote from the contest page). The prizes are editing for a current WIP (author-speak for "work in progress") or a query letter. Entering is a sort of thrilling/scary process because it is taking another step.
And each step is bringing me closer to the edge. That's where I send out my queries. That's where I'll take my leap of faith.
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