Monday, 29 June 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #4

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)






1. How I did on last week’s goals:


If I count the notes I wrote, then I totally made my goal! But just story-words...no. The planning was desperately needed, though, so it's all good.

As for my Other goals: I finished an adult crime novel I picked up at work (technically not on my TBR but I'm counting it), did okay with the water drinking, and I failed spectacularly at going to before midnight every single night last week. Bad.

2. My goal(s) for this week:

Write 1500 words and write on three days.


I'll keep my Other goals the same in the hope that I might actually achieve them this time:
  • Read one book from my TBR.
  • Go to bed before midnight at least four nights this week.
  • Drink tons of water.

3. A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:



"You're a badass, Dia Vazquez. How come you don't see that?"

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Exhaustion. Apparently if you go to bed after 2a.m. you'll be super tired the next day? Who knew?! Seriously, though, it's so hard to write through tiredness. I need to get my sleeping pattern under serious control.


5. Something I love about my WIP:

Music, music, music.

See you next week!

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Year of Becky, Back On Track

So, I have an agent, and her name is Jennifer Johnson-Blalock (of Liza Dawson Associates), and I am so happy and so excited that I have been dancing around my kitchen. Actually, I dance around my kitchen most days, but this is a very specific modern dance interpretation of my feelings, as opposed to my normal "get low to Drop That Kitty" routine...just, trust me. I am very, extremely, beyond happy and excited and thrilled!


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So this is the part where I write the whole story of how this came to be, yes? I feel like I've read so many of these posts, and now I get to write my own! As Heather Number One would say: how very.

I mean, shall we do Short Story/Long Story/Any Other Story Becky Wants To Tell?

Okay.

Short Story:

I started querying this novel, THE QUIETEST KIND, at the very end of January. [Stats break: I sent 27 queries, had one request via #pitmad, and one referral. Out of those queries, I got 4 partial and 5 full requests.] Jennifer requested the partial on the 2nd of June, then the full on the 3rd, and then offered representation during a call on the 8th. And I accepted.

Long Story:

In April I sent a query to another agent at Liza Dawson, who passed. So I get this rejection, shrug (it was a long shot, genre-wise) and move on. The next day, this email comes through on my phone: Partial Manuscript Request. I do the one-raised-eyebrow trick I spent many teenage hours in front of the mirror teaching myself and open it up. It's Jennifer, saying that the other agent passed my query along because she thought it might be of interest and could she see the first fifty pages?

I'm, like:


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For real?

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So I do a little online stalking [always check out agents, especially in contests and things like #pitmad etc -- just because someone requests doesn't mean you have to submit!] and think Jennifer seems great, and so off my little partial goes. Then the full request comes the next day ("Holy shit, she's actually read it already?!") and off that goes. Now I'm stressing (she got back to me so fast on the partial, that means she's probably going to get back really quick on the full, and oh my god, well at least if it's a rejection it'll be over with quickly). A couple of days later I get the email: she really enjoyed the manuscript and wants to set up a time to talk; when would be good?

[When would be good for me?! Never, because I don't do well on the phone or in important conversations or just generally in everyday life. Ask me what I thought of Mean Girls, and the words in my head are, "One of the best teen comedies, if not the best films, ever: the dialogue is whip smart and it's so well-written. If you want to see a sharp and funny story set in the scheming world of girls' politics, this is it." What comes out of my mouth: "Ah ma gawd, it's well good! It's, like, the best! Say crack again. Crack!"]

But I'm, like, super professional, dontcha know, and so I don't say any of the above. We just set up a time to talk and then I spend the next forty-eight hours swinging from About To Throw Up Nervous to Very Excited and back again about a thousand times.

Anyway, it gets to four o'clock on Monday and I'm vibrating out of my skin with anticipation and Jennifer calls.

[Okay, so don't laugh at me, but I did dress up for the phone call. What? I figured that if I looked nice and presentable and felt good, that would come across when I spoke.] [Because you're all dying to know, I wore blue jeans and an oversized semi-sheer white shirt, belted with a leopard belt because leopard print is a neutral, and the ever-present gold hoop earrings.] [Red nails.]

During the call we talk about my story, what she liked, what she thinks needs work, Knocked Up, how she online stalked me (ha!), Friday Night Lights, Nina LaCour, and then she says she wants to represent me.

And I'm like:

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Honestly, I wanted to say yes right then and there -- I just felt like we clicked, Jennifer totally got my story, and she had exactly the kind of plans I had been dreaming of. But I did what everyone is supposed to do and said I needed time to think it over and let the other agents who had my work know, and I'd get back to her within two weeks.


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Next I did the whole notifying-of-agents and getting responses and, oh yeah, losing my mind some more.


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And then my deadline came around and I had some very gracious passes that I was actually very grateful for, because I didn't really want to consider anybody else, because I was pretty sure that I had already found My Agent. (Yeah, pretty much since I got off that phone call I've been referring to her as "my agent" in my head. Oops?) So, yesterday I finally let Jennifer know that I was accepting, and I like to think that on either side of the Atlantic ocean were two very excited ladies! I am so so SO fucking happy and excited and I can't wait to start on revisions and getting this thing ready to go out on submission. (WHAT!)


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The Other Story:

Seven years ago I decided to write a novel. Just for fun, just to see if I could write that many words. It took two years and probably a lot of time that I should have spent working on my A-levels instead, but I finished that book. And I queried it. (Oh my god, I can't believe I queried it! What was I doing! No one will ever see that novel, ever!)

At least I quickly realised that I didn't know what the fuck I was doing and got online and started learning. I wrote another novel, queried it (oh so briefly), shelved it. I wrote another novel. I wrote another novel (number four), and I wrote novel number five. I revised novel four, loved it, queried it for over a year. I pitched it on Twitter, and I entered it into several contests (getting through to the agent round on Cupid's Blind Speed Dating contest). I rewrote novel five, turning it into novel number six. I wrote number seven and wondered if I was crazy for thinking I could do this. I revised novel six, got some very smart reader comments, and decided to split it into two novels: eight and nine. I split it, added and took away and edited and thought about it all the time and about lost my mind doing it. But I did it, and then I polished up that novel number eight and began querying it. I got close (oh so close) but not quite there. I kept querying. I did #pitmad. I really began to think that I couldn't do this anymore. I started -- and stopped, and started, and stopped, and started -- drafting novel number ten. I thought that I might really give up now, because it was making me so sad, and I didn't want to be sad. I kept querying anyway. (What's that quote about insanity?)

And then I got that email from Jennifer, and I've never felt more grateful for my madness.

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This is a real, true, begging plea to anybody reading this who just really fucking hates writing and/or querying right now: don't give up. I know what you're thinking: It's easy to say Don't Give Up when you're on the other side of it. Or maybe you're not, but that's what I thought a few weeks ago, when I read someone else's I Have An Agent post. I thought, okay. You're telling me not to stop. But it sucks so bad right now and I'm tired of working so much when I don't know, I really don't know, if I'm going to ever get what I hope all this work can get me.

I'm going to get all cheesy now: no, you might not get what you want. But if you stop now, then you're for sure not going to get it. While you're still trying, you still have a chance. And that chance is worth it. I really believe that.


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xoxo





Monday, 22 June 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #3

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)






1. How I did on last week’s goals:


I passed my 1500 word goal (I ended up with 2307 words) and finished a long scene in the process, so I'm happy!

2. My goal(s) for this week:

I think I'll stick to the same writing goal as last week: write 1500 words.


I like that people are adding non-writing goals here, too, so this week, here's what I want to do:

  • Read one book from my TBR.
  • Go to bed before midnight at least four nights this week.
  • Drink tons of water.

3. A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:



Hanna tipped her head back, taking in the wide expanse of shifting sky. “There’s a whole mess of shit up there. Who knows what real or right or true? Make it yours. Do what you want. Who cares?”

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Making time. I'm really bad with wasting time online (hello tumblr) when I could be fitting in thirty minutes of writing, so I need to work on that.


5. Something I love about my WIP:

The complicated friendship between my three girls; all the ways they fall apart and come back together again, and again, and again.

See you next week!


Monday, 15 June 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #2

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)




A late check-in, but I'm here! (I swear I'm going to get organised...at some point. In the future.) (The distant future.)
1. How I did on last week’s goals:

I came a little shy of my 2000 word goal, but I'm actually happy that I managed to anything done this week, so I'll take it.


2. My goal(s) for this week:

Write 1500 words.

3. A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:

Jules was a grudge-holder, a stubborn girl, and Hanna was Hanna. The girl who would drink herself into such oblivion that she could no longer say her own name, who blacked out entire memories so that the fighting and the nail-scratches and the knife-sharp words belonged to everyone but her. Maybe Dia could forgive so easily, but not Jules.



4. The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Moving house really stole a lot of time that I could have spent writing, but at least it's over now. (Just the unpacking of hundreds and thousands of boxes to go.)

5. Something I love about my WIP:

The sticky, stormy, summer of it all.

See you next week!

Monday, 8 June 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty Upperman, Elodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)



I am so (so, so, so) glad RSW is back again. I don't know what it is, but something about this summer writing intensive works magic on me. Last year I managed to finish the first draft of a manuscript that was really dragging me down, and in 2013 I finished a big revision of my much-loved-but-sadly-shelved MS FATE AND OTHER GAMES, as well as starting the rewrite that eventually became the manuscript I'm querying now. I'm sending vibes to the universe to bring me that magic again this summer, because I really need to get my shit together. Come on, kid: do it.

My overall goal for Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 is to finish the first draft of my punk girl band manuscript. That's all. That's easy.

(Say it enough, and my brain will start to believe it, right?)

Right now I have 44k and so many scenes cluttering my head. It's the getting them from my head to the screen that's proving just a little bit of a problem. So, with that in mind, let's get to it.

*   *   *

My goal(s) for this week:

Write 2000 words. (Not too crazy, but 1: I am seemingly incapable of writing at the moment, and 2: My parents are moving house this week, and I happen to live with my parents, therefore I am also moving house this week. But I can do this.)

*   *   *

Here's hoping that this is the beginning of a summer filled with so many words, for all of us.