When writers need an uplift

Karalee’s Post #32

I did something for myself this weekend and registered for a Writer’s Digest University course called ‘The Agent One-on-One: Your First Ten Pages Boot Camp.

Now why would I do this right at crunch time before our writer’s group final FINAL deadline of May 15, 2013? It certainly isn’t because I’ve finished and have time to twiddle my thumbs. It’s because I needed it and it felt right.

I needed a break from:

  • being inside my head in a fictitious world for too long and starting to emulate my protagonist in my real life. Who wants a cop for a mom, a  wife, or a friend, especially a fictitious one that needs to run to the Internet to study up on proper protocol? Although, I must confess to being a great shot with guns in the little experience I’ve had, and if my husband bought me a RCMP uniform I might wear it for him…. 
  • worrying that my writing isn’t good enough. Although I may sound brave and confident about my writing, and brag that living on a sailboat depressed with three kids and a husband surviving storms and night crossings is easier than finding an agent, I’m not too sure….
  • being anxious about meeting the deadline with a complete manuscript ready for my group to critique. I might make it, I might not, but the most important thing is to have a story I’m loving and having it come together. I must say that I am loving the process and I do think I have a story worth publishing. It may take a little longer to get to The End, but hey, Helga and I edit as we go, so our rewrites should be less. Right? Maybe?
  • I’m  VIP member so I got 10% off. Hey, it all helps.
  • cleaning house sucks. I needed a break from routine.

This weekend break came at the right time and my confidence is boosted. Not only do I now know beyond a doubt that I can sign in to an on-line course and download seminars and connect to forums even with my computer-technical-savvy husband out of town on a business trip, I also got great feedback on my first 10 pages! (That does deserve an exclamation mark.)

Did I say great?

I was assigned to have Gina Panettieri, President of Talcott Notch Literary Services to read my first 10 pages that I had to submit by 10 a.m. EST  on Saturday.  Within 24 hours  comments were to be sent back. I won’t expand on the comments here in detail as it would interfere with my writer’s groups’ critiques, but I’ll overview them.

Gina sent my comments in the standard Writer’s Digest format:

  1. Strengths. In  general both my pace and character development were strong and and the reader would want to keep reading. (This deserves many exclamation marks, but I will refrain myself.)
  2. Issues. It’s best not to use the Hells Angels gang since publishers probably won’t embrace it. Use a fictitious gang name. (easy fix) The first scenario with my villain  needs to be tighter (less risk to be caught) and a minor character needs to act more in character. (another quick fix) And lastly, my dialogue in a couple of places could be less repetitive. (another quick fix) And that was it! I was over-the-moon-happy that there weren’t major flaws that would have me rewriting my entire plot line.
  3. Next Steps. Basically fixing the above issues.

The best news is, that at the end of Gina’s comments she wrote:

  • You’re off to a great start! I look forward to seeing your revisions and working more with your pages! Gina

Did you see the word ‘great’ in there? Not just good or interesting, but great! Complete with two exclamation marks too?

Now that in itself is enough to get me pumped about my writing and jumping back in my head and embrace having my protagonist and villain take over my life again.

But the workshop isn’t over yet. On Sunday between 1:00 and 4:00 EST all the agents at the workshop were available on Blackboard to answer any questions about our 10 pages or about other writing issues such as what publishers are looking for, etc.

Then after the forum, I had until 10 p.m. EST Sunday to resubmit my first 10 pages with all my fixes for Gina to re-read.

I will hear back by Friday, May 3rd. If Gina or any of the other agents are interested in my writing and the premise of my book, they can request for me to send them more pages. 

Who knows what will happen, but the weekend was what I needed to keep my enthusiasm keen.

Not only did it feel good, it was good!

Happy writing.

5 thoughts on “When writers need an uplift

  1. Wooohooo! Congratulations! Whatever else I can say with an exclamation mark! 🙂
    It must feel great to get such encouraging feed back.

  2. Good work Karalee! And if it makes you feel even a tiny bit better and more confident, I can assure you that you’re waaaaay ahead of me!

  3. GREAT job, Karalee. Working in a vacuum is always hard. Good for you for seeking professional feedback before your May 15 deadline – and what encouraging feedback it was, too. Yeeehaaa!

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