Saturday, April 20, 2013

One novel...with pin feathers.

Hello Lovely Blogmates! 
The oncoming Ice-Age is loosening its grip and Spring has finally sprung here in Wisconsin (in spite of the smattering of snow yesterday) and, I am back from my blogging hiatus!
(Insert sounds of crickets chirping here…) 

Where have I been, you ask?
(More crickets and one pin dropping.)

I was—ahem, finishing my M.G.  novel “Gia” henceforth entitled “Dreamwalker”. (I think.)  Yup.  Put a fork in her, she’s a done deal.  Well, except for that final tweaky edit of course but that’s all knick-knacks and throw-pillows as far as I’m concerned.  I have written "The End" and an epilogue to boot.  I have survived the pregnancy, given birth, and now I gotta raise the durn thing to fly on her own.

Now begins the superfun job of writing pitch letters, crafting my short-yet-intriguing synopsis, hacking away at the twitter-pitch and my never-need-to-use elevator pitch, boring all my blog-readers with T.M.I. about my progress, and... the dreaded query.  (If I had a really drippy, spooky font I would’ve written “query” in it, but for now you will have to use your imagination.) Just the mention of the "Q" word puts my stomach in knots.  Why is it that silly thing gives me the twitchy eye and has me reaching for the nearest tonic with which to sooth my jangled nerves? 

Might I ask you seasoned pros what you do upon finishing your lovely WIPs? 
Do you use beta readers? 
Do you read your novel backwards?  (I'm told this not only catches all the typos but gets you to drooling and babbling incoherently until typos cease to matter anymore.) 
Do you set your novel on the counter like a good pot-roast and let it rest before diving in for the cut? 
Do you enter queries and the first 250 into contests all hell-bent-for-leather and let her do some work while you’re busy shoring it up? 
My game plan is a final edit, (and then another one), research agent lists like I’m looking for the missing link and start querying for an agent.  Thus far, I'm taking the conventional approach. 

How’dya do it Peeps?  How did you land that lovely agent hook, line and sinker?

~Just Jill


  1. Congratulations, Jill!
    I've always heard to wait before beginning edits, but I never do. I probably go through it at least twenty times, changing, rewriting, and fixing. Then I send it to my two test readers and my three critique partners. Once I get it back from them, I go through the manuscript about a dozen more times, fine-tuning it. Working on your synopsis and query in between those stages is a good idea.
    Don't pitch it until it is polished to perfection and a hundred percent ready though. If someone requests it and your manuscript is still an unpolished mess, you'll blow an opportunity. And you don't want that!

  2. What can I say except "Yes, Cap'n!" Sounds like a good game-plan. Thanks for stopping by!
    ~Just Jill

  3. Congrats on finishing your novel! I do believe in letting things sit before I edit, but I don't just let it simmer on the hard drive. I send it out to readers to get that valuable feedback. So important to have others comb through your ms for typos, repetitive words, grammatical errors, plot holes, etc.

  4. I agree L.G. Sometimes what seems crystal-clear to me sounds off to others. (Especially to the discerning ear of my eleven year old daughter-critic. She finds every plot hole!)
    Thanks so much for stopping by,
    ~Just Jill

  5. Oh, well done! I'm delighted for you! And based on the bits of yours I've read, people are in for an utter treat of delicious prose and underlying wisdom.

    What do I do? After two years I now have a fund that pays for editing. Anyone who wants to beta read is appreciated. The editing, though, is a real eye-opener. Flow suggestions - insights from people who have not lived with my characters through a series and do NOT know that the hero of my current WIP (coming out May 15!!! Gotta advertise...) is a vigorous man in his very early fifties.

    Beta readers are a must - I have two that are fabulous and don't care if they hurt my feelings.

    *Ahem* I digress.

    1. editor, if your can afford one. I have a recommendation if you decide you do want one. Good work (especially for line edits and flow). Fees are reasonable.

    2. beta readers. Send them roses or take them to dinner or just tell them how fab they are.

    Good luck!

    1. Paying for editing? Interesting concept. I have a few beta readers on deck and will shower them with love and presents. Now I must tend to my drinking after reading your blog about the ship that never came in...
      Just Jill

    2. I thought it uplifting, myself. There are others worse than us... On the other hand, I learned just now that the link was not working. Annoyance! Do stop by tomorrow. The song for T is very amusing! The good thing about editors is that they're pros and can do a line edit. My beta readers get showered with chocolate cake (the Chocolate Stout cake that I make, that is to die for), champagne or beer and lots of compliments.

  6. Finishing a novel is a great accomplishment, so congratulations and good luck. I use beta readers and critique groups. I hate writing synopses and queries. Sometimes I think I should just be satisfied that I finished a couple of novels and let it go at that, but I know I won't.

    1. Wow. Thanks for the admission Rosi. It somehow does my heart good to know that a fabulous writer such as yourself also hates the whole "q" thing. I guess I'm in good company. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Congratulations on your baby, Jill! I imagine you must be very busy now balancing your new mommy duties with the writing. And yay for finishing your WIP. Do you think you might shop it around at any conferences later this year? SCBWI is having its conference in LA this summer.

  8. Thanks for asking but that would be beyond my abilities. I have a three year old, an eleven year old and a very wee bank account. Sigh. But perhaps some day.
    BTW, I'm really only a new Mommy to my fledgling manuscript.
    Thanks for stopping by Cynthia.
    ~Just Jill

  9. Hi, Jill, congratulations on finishing your novel. I know how great that feels! I am working on a rewrite at present, but I do have a lovely agent who liked it enough to take it on, then has nudged me to make it better (for which I am grateful). I got my agent from simply sending out letter after letter, after compiling a list of agents whose "wish list" seemed in sync with what I was writing. Good luck on your queries.

    Also, thanks for stopping by my new Victorian blog and leaving your comment. I'm quite interested now in finding a copy of Song of the Sparrow. I write about the Victorian Era and Gilded Era in my books, but I am an avid fan of anything to do with King Arthur or Merlin. (Loved Mary Stewart's series.)

    I don't know how to change the info on my icon. It's part of the "circles" thing. It was the only way I could follow your blog. Normally I just click "follow" on blogger blogs, but I couldn't find that button on yours.

  10. Oops, I take that back. I am following you via Blogger. I think that picture will take you directly to my blogs. The "circles" ones won't.

  11. Hi, I finished a YA recently and had intended to query agents, but after entering it in a few contests--first page, query, and the Golden Heart (50 pgs and synop), I discovered it's not ready for agents. So, I am moving ahead with a new idea, but once I get it to a point where I can leave it for a while, I'll do some tweaking on the YA and maybe test the waters in a couple more contests and THEN start querying agents. I'm a new follower, stopping by from the A-Z.


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