Friday, February 5, 2016

Learning to Sing "We've Only Just Begun"

Sharing horizons that are new to us.
Watching the signs along the way.
Talkin' it over, just the two of us.
Workin' together day to day .

And when the evening comes, we smile
So much of life ahead.
We'll find a place where there's room to grow
And yes, we've just begun.

Okay, so the title, song, and lyrics are a bit sappy... like molasses, but I feel that getting "the Call" means learning to share your horizons with someone else. It means talking your work over, working together, hopefully smiling, and growing and knowing that your professional journey with your agent has only just begun.

Travel Trailer

So, what does this journey look like? Well, I can only speak from my experience, but here's what happened for me.

After accepting representation, Nicole and Danielle came up a story plan for my book, gave me feedback on where I could improve the manuscript, and made a few suggestions about possible directions I could take.

The biggest items on their list were

1) Give the story a more child-friendly focus. The draft I sent them was very parental in tone and probably would appeal more to adults than kids.
2) Improve the plot. My story was full of witty banter, but Ha Ha Ha funny isn't enough to carry the story to publication.
3) Strengthen the characters. The ones in my first draft were a bit flimsy to say the least.

So I spent three months revising and re-revising and trying to figure out how to fix these issues. I hit a few dead ends, but with weekly-and-encouraging phone calls and emails from Nicole and Danielle I eventually figured out my character's GMCs and broke through my stalemate with the story.


I wouldn't have improved my manuscript nearly as much if I'd been revising on my own. I doubt I would've realized how much my plot was over dependent on humor and lacking in underlying emotions. Sure, it was a fun and breezy read, but it wasn't a memorable one. It lacked impact, but now I feel the characters are much more alive on the page. They are still funny, but there is more to them than just a running gag.


So, when you get "the Call", remember your journey has only just begun.

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