Posted in Agent Review, Conferences, revision, Seminars, Uncategorized, tagged agent response, deadline, fiction, first line of chapter one, first novel, Hook, manuscript, Mystery Writers of America, opening scene, revision, Sisters in Crime, Synopsis, writing groups on October 1, 2013 |
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Well, today was the deadline to submit 15 pages for a manuscript evaluation at the upcoming Crime Bake Conference, sponsored by Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America.
After several revisions, I managed to condense the first 13 pages of my story to end with Chapter 2 where the initial hook hopefully sinks in. The first page was a cover sheet, and the second a one-page synopsis. How difficult was that to write??? All the broad strokes on one page!
My submission will be assigned to an agent, an editor, or a published mystery writer for evaluation. I’ll find out who when I register on November 8.
The two of us will find a quiet corner in the Hilton Hotel and spend fifteen minutes together. She will tell me what she thinks of my story and my writing. It will be a nerve-wracking experience, but a necessary evil. After sending my story through two separate writing groups, eliminating my original opening chapters and many unnecessary scenes, plus rewriting the first page a gazillion times, I can only hope that my evaluator thinks my story is in pretty good shape.
During this conference, I will also pitch my book to the attending agents. Maybe I’ll finally get a bite!
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Traveling this long and interesting road since I decided to try my hand at writing a novel has been a real eye opener. Who knew there was so much involved in putting my story on paper? I respect authors who have written an engrossing story, then managed to find an agent and a publisher. On the other hand, I’m sometimes disappointed with the quality of writing, wondering how a book managed to get published at all.
This brings me to my fear of putting my story out there if it’s not as perfect as I can make it. Fascinating characterization, interesting setting, thoughtful plot line, and control of back story. I’ve become a great lover of books written to educate a new writer. Most recently, I bought one called “The Emotion Thesaurus”. It provides a laundry list of examples to write the emotions of your characters without falling into the trap of cliche. As my writing group points out on a regular basis, I sometimes forget to include my protagonist’s emotions, assuming that the reader understands what’s going on in my characters’ heads. Wrongo!
As I’ve been reading through this new how-to book, I’m inspired to go back into my story and find places where the emotional impact of a scene can be more accurately shown…never told!…to make my protagonist more human.
If you have a favorite book about the craft of writing, I’d love to hear about it. Always looking for new volumes to add to my ever-expanding library.
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There’s a dramatic scene toward the end of my novel that begins to resolve the mystery. But I had the hardest time getting this chapter through one of my two writing groups.
The intention was to show frenetic activity as each character stumbled over the others. At first, I had each character’s actions shown in full. Then I tried alternating paragraphs of each characters’ actions to show everything happening at once.
Yesterday, as I went back and forth between the group comments and my subconscious muse, I finally figured out what was sending this scene off on the wrong track.
Too many characters too soon!
And so, I’m busy re-sequencing the timing to bring them into the scene one at a time instead of having all of them there at the beginning. One character finishes before another one enters to interact and move the story along. It seems to be flowing much better. Such a relief.
But wait! I shouldn’t get too excited yet… what if the group still doesn’t think it works???
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I key-stroked “The End” on my first mystery months ago, but continue to revise, revise, revise. Sending chapters through two different writing groups always elicits valid comments. Although the story reads easily with active verbs and definitive description, there might be a glitch with a chunk of dialogue or a mis-match of logic to previous clues. It all needs attention.
And so I’m nervous about sending a query to a publisher who requires that my novel be finished and POLISHED. Will my story ever REALLY be polished enough to submit? I’ve heard it said that we could revise our story forever if we choose to do so. At what point do we stop? I suppose the fall-back position is that even if I think it’s done, my agent–if I ever find one–and the editor at the publishing house—if they ever hold my manuscript in their hands–will have their own ideas about sections that need revision.
Actually, to put a little pressure on myself to finish the first novel, I have begun my second. Not very far in, but I know who is done-in, and who-done-it. The inciting incident has been established. I’m wrestling with the reason behind the crime. Several possibilities are floating around in my head. I just have to pick the one that seems most logical and can be justified to a degree that is believable.
Well, that’s enough moaning and groaning for this morning.
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