Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Another Full Request - British Agent!

Hafan Deg, the novel that's currently out there, poor orphan, in agent land, is set mainly in Wales and Australia. I would have preferred dealing with a London agent for it, believing they would somehow relate to the work more easily, but most British agents seem to detest email submissions, and I'm darned if I want to be running to the post office on a regular basis, especially as it costs. So I concentrated on New York, with only two queries sent to London.

I am delighted to announce that I had a request for the full manuscript yesterday, from a London agent. It's silly, but this pleases me enormously - not just the full request, which is amazing in itself - but I was born there, and my roots are there, despite years of living as an ex-pat. It's only fitting that my novel, which is probably 25% autobiographical, should go home.

This is the second Full request I've had, and I'll try to remain as practical about it as I can. I've been very cool about this whole submission business, haven't I? You know that from my philosophical blogs. If it happens, it happens. If it's good, it will sell. If it doesn't sell, I'll keep writing regardless. You've seen all that.

Then what the hell was that about yesterday, when I opened this agent's email, figuring it for another rejection? I burst into tears, didn't I? Only for a minute, mind, because I would have made the keyboard wet, but long enough to worry the cats.

My excuse is that I've been a bit emotional lately, what with the World War II events in Strachan's Attic (and the D-Day anniversary marathon TV viewing last weekend), and probably needed that good old-fashioned female response. But deep down I'm wondering if I'm as cool as I thought I was. We writers are only human, after all, agent-fail comments to the contrary.

I've written just one chapter of Strachan's Attic since Friday, or 2,600 words. I'm working in two time frames and locales, modern day Canada and 40's Britain, and the story is a fascinating but complicated ride. In some unconscious way, I think I'm delaying this portion of the book because within the next 5,000 words, I believe, I'll be dealing only with modern day events. I'm seriously going to miss my 40's characters.

Because my basic plot and the last line of the book (I always come up with that first with my novels) is already firm in my mind, it's where the characters will take it that's the unknown factor. This draft was based on a much earlier book but it's changed so much that my original agent wouldn't recognize it. It's the book I should have written the first time around, but didn't, and then I revised it for her, and basically screwed it up even more. I didn't believe in it after the changes, and neither, in the end, did she.

If you lose your passion for the work, you should put it firmly aside and let it ferment a little longer, and then try again. Strachan's story has been fermenting for a long time, and should be ready for decanting this time. I'm loving every minute of this total re-write, although it's taken me far longer that I'd expected, because my characters took over and I surrendered control to them. This time, however, aside from the sheer slog of writing, I am having a huge amount of fun.


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Quotes to Consider

"If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, Either write things worth reading, or do things worth writing." ~Benjamin Franklin

"Well behaved women rarely make history."~Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

“A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”~William G.T. Shedd (1820-1894), theologian, teacher, pastor

"It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something." ~Franklin D Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd U.S. president

“Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), essayist, poet, philosopher

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." ~Mark Twain

"You miss 100% of the shots you don't take."
~ Wayne Gretzky