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You can get there from here

Posted on 2008.09.09 at 05:10

When my agent offered to represent me, a supernova of new hope went off within me.  Now the firestorm has blown clear, and I'm focused on my blind spots,  those underdeveloped parts of my book that I hadn't noticed.  After a careful reading, my agent asked for a rewrite.  She discovered several problems that I need to address--a character whose motivation isn’t defined enough, another who starts off with a bang then fizzles with wasted potential, and a subplot that never comes full circle--and must come full circle to give a satisfying conclusion, not to mention set up a sequel.

So, why did she take on my manuscript with these flaws?  Why would she waste her time if it needs so much work?  The answer?  She's not wasting her time because she believes in the book, and sees it not only for what it is, but for what it can become.  A good agent helps a writer clean up a promising manuscript,  a great one unleashes it's potential.  The same holds true for an editor.  I'm fortunate that I have an agent with a keen editorial eye, and know her insights will save me from a slew of rejections.  When an agent asks for revisions (which happens more often than not) it’s called “shaping the manuscript for submission,” but it’s less about shaping than reconstructive surgery.  When my agent told me, "You're not there yet," it felt like a size-twelve boot to the groin, but she said she knows I can get there and told me not to despair.

And I'm not despairing, I'm working my ass off.  I want to prove to her and to myself that her faith in me isn’t wasted.  While waiting for her editorial notes, she told me to reread the manuscript, consider the global criticisms, and make notes of my own for an upcoming phone conference.  A funny thing happened when I reread the manuscript.  Several of the characters shouted at me, sharing stories I had never heard.  The detective with wasted potential vented her rage, furious that I hadn’t let her solve a major crime, when she had the tenacity and intelligence to do so.  Another character told me that if I really loved him, I’d have the courage to show how much he loved my lead protagonist, despite the fact that doing so would destroy his sanity.  I know he’s right, but it hurt like hell because I really do love him, and can’t save him from himself, even though I want to.  When I feel my characters’ pain and frustration, I know I’m on the right track.

I’ve bowed to the voices in my head, and I will get there from here.


coppervale at 2008-09-09 12:33 (UTC) (Link)
Yes. You will.
(Deleted comment)
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