So It Begins…

After months and months of nerve induced procrastination, I have officially sent out my first query letters for Us.

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I sent them out last week. My husband wrapped his arms around me, we counted down, and clicked the send button together. Sharon was a major help to me that day, sending me constructive criticism on my pitch which I truly think made it infinitely better. This whole situation is simultaneously exciting and terrifying. I keep reading things that say, “It’s never your first novel that gets published.” Maybe that will be true, but I’ve started putting myself out there and that, for me, is a huge step forward.

Though I did a thorough copy edit of my manuscript before I started querying, I am still printing out drafts and combing over them looking for errors. It’s a little disconcerting that I keep finding errors, but at this point I just correct them and move on. As I wait for rejections responses to come in, I’m digging into my next novel, because if it isn’t this one that gets published, it may be the next one. Thusly and thereforths, I need to keep working.

This road may be long and hard, but I love writing too much to just walk away without trying. And now that I’ve started, there is no way that I’m going to give up without a fight.

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Best Laid Schemes…

I’ve been meticulously methodical about sending my novels out for representation to the point where, last month, I called myself out for being utterly ridiculous. And, as J.R.R. Tolkien said,

“It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.”

IMG_5062So, I decided to take March off from writing new things and focus on querying for Us. I knew it would be hard and that I’d be scared and maybe even polish off one or two containers of antacids before April rolled around, but this thing won’t happen on its own.

I started out well. Then one day I unwittingly began to mull over some old cut material from a first draft of my fantasy trilogy. They were scenes I liked and plot points I enjoyed, so I hoped that one day I could resurrect them in something else. I chewed on bites and pieces of them over the next two days until something lit a fuse and my brain exploded.

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It was madness. It was fever. In the space of a week I had over 90,000 words in a document, over 50,000 of that are brand new. And that word count doesn’t even take into consideration the 10k+ that I scribbled into my paper journals. One day I wrote for almost 10 hours straight. When I rose from my desk, I wandered the rooms hardly present, my head was clouded with voices and scenes from another world. I lost tons of sleep, had difficulty entering into conversations that did not involve me talking through the rough patches of my story outline, and ignored my husband when he called me to meals.

Thankfully, it’s dying down now, as I’ve rough drafted all the scenes in my head and thought through the outline enough to know how the story is shaping itself. I’ve got three new characters I adore, one of which is probably my most morally complicated character to date.

So my departure date for the long trip that is the publishing process is pushed back again because I love what I do too much. I sometimes have this morbid sensation that I’m going to die with over 20 completed novels sitting in files on my laptop.

…that being said, I think I’ll work on query letters after I finish writing this blogpost. 😉

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text © Rachel Svendsen 2016

It’s Getting Real Over Here…

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My first novel is done. Or probably done… I only say probably because of the sleep stealing fear that it’s not ready and I don’t know it. From the things I’ve read by other writers in my situation, this feeling is not uncommon. Regardless, I now stand on the cusp of query and rejection letters…

I. Am. Petrified.

I also have no idea what I’m doing! I’ve been reading a lot of information on the subject yet I still feel like a lost child in the grocery store, too frightened and shocked to begin screaming.

So when my ever first copy of “Writer’s Market” arrived in the mail yesterday… well, I nearly vomited.

I’ve been trying to light a fire under my butt for a while, but I just keep staring at my manuscript. I’ve never dealt well with rejection. Now I have to daily grapple with the thought that it’s inevitable. I WILL be rejected. I MAY be accepted eventually, but the rejection is going to happen.

It’s my baby. Those words are not made up of letters, they’re made up of me, heart, soul, and the cliché sweat, blood, and tears. The Characters are my children. I love them all in a way, even the ones you’re meant to hate. I gave birth to them one night in Lancaster, PA to the glow of my iPad while my husband slept soundly beside me. I’ve nursed them at my bosom. I’ve watched them grow, eat, sleep, fight, love, live, and die, in my sleep, in the shower, in waiting rooms, when I’m at the gym and virtually every random waking hour of my life since that night.

My last step in the nursing process was to hand out several more manuscript copies to trusted beta readers. I’m hoping that if they come back and say, “you need to try” I will have the support I need to go forward. In the end I know it will only be published if God wants it to be, but that unknown future element freaks me out.

People bungee jump all the time. You know that you won’t die from it, but I won’t believe that anyone standing at the edge of the platform about to jump isn’t at least a little nauseated from the view.