I just read through a great blog over at Don't Pet Me, I'm Writing. It's the blog of author, Tawna Fenske. Her latest post about Writing Regrets was amazing. It got me thinking about my own path as a writer.
I've read a lot of blogs by authors who, understandably, choose not to make public, their road to success, or should I say, the bumpy path of rejection that led them there. As I said, I understand. Being as public as we are now-a-days, what with blogs and social networking, it's really hard to expose our weaknesses and our self-doubt, much less, our failures along the way. It's a vulnerable position not many people ever want to put themselves in.
But you see, I think it's actually so brave for anyone to do this, and it helps so many in the same position.
Tawna's blog post about writing regrets was so helpful. It really made me stop and look at myself in the deepest possible way a writer can.
See, here's the skinny: I started writing THORNE (a middle-grade, urban fantasy...the first in a series), and believe me when I say this book went through some changes along the way; initially, it was a lot longer, until I discovered it was too long for MG, and so, I thought about it for a couple of weeks, and decided to take a chapter out of the book, and write an entirely new book around it; it became the first in my series, and what was left of the original became book 2, and it worked out amazingly-well.
Ever since then, I've revised it numerous times; recently, I virtually rewrote it in order to tighten it up. I love the end result. So I started sending out queries again. I definitely have my "favorites" list of agents, and a couple still haven't replied yet (according to the websites, they do).
That said, one agent requested a partial, and later rejected it saying that, although she loves the way I write and the story concept was great, she simply wasn't drawn into the 12-yr old protagonist's life enough to offer representation. She suggested I rewrite the book in first-person; she's actually the second agent to make that suggestion. So it makes me wonder if I made the right choice when I first wrote the book.
I've always loved first-person narratives. I love how it allows me to dive into the minds of the characters like no other format can. So, I started trying to rewrite the first book as a narrative from David's POV. It's coming out great, but something in my guy keeps gnawing at me: Could this actually work in first-person? It just doesn't seem to have the same haunting quality as the original, and I'm afraid if I try to bring out the haunting nature of David's inner demons and anger about his situation, it might come off as "woe-is-me". Just the same, I'm going to post part of what I've written in first-person and part of the original; I'd love to get your thoughts on which works best.
QUERIES: I just don't know what else to do. I can't begin to tell you how many websites I've read on queries, agents, agencies, publishers, writing, and all things authory. On the wings of my dream to see my work out there, I've studied more than I even did in school, and that's saying a lot. And yet, every time I query agents, I do it with what I believe to be a new and improved letter, and still, the rejections keep pouring in. Ever since I started this process back in 2004, I've received probably...and here's the part where I leave myself vulnerable to ridicule and speculation...more rejections than I care to count; all based on different letters and different versions of the book's first chapter.
The worst part is, I was almost there once. See, back in 2007, I was approached by a publisher who'd been following my blogs on Myspace, and asked that I send them a partial. Desperate as I was to see my book out there, I pishawed the writer on my should who warned me that publishers don't do this. In the end, they loved it, and asked for more. Then I was told they wanted to publish the book.
Two editors there both commented (apparently) that my book had some of the best dialogue they'd ever read. And that was just the beginning. Sadly, in 2008, a week before the book was to come out, the publisher folded due to the recession, and I was thrust back onto the querying road once again.
I just wish for what every author wishes: the elusive "yes". Until then, I'll keep writing, pushing, and dreaming of the day when that happens.