Thursday, December 16, 2010

Good News and Bad News

A little over a month ago I sent out my first tentative queries to a handful of agents. I've received several rejections and one request for a partial. The good news is after requesting the partial the agent responded back to me yesterday. The bad news is that she didn't request a full.  However, she did offer very useful and constructive comments about how to improve the story and characters...which I suppose is more good news.  All the things she pointed out as problems were things I suspected anyway and I had already begun to outline necessary revisions.

So now it's back to the drawing board. I believe in this story and these characters and I'm determined to find the formula that works for this novel. I'll have to make some drastic changes, but I know it can be done and the story will be that much better because of it.

I first realized the story may need this kind of overhaul shortly after I'd sent out my queries and I was devastated, mostly because it felt like starting over, and the sheer scope of it was overwhelming. I refused to believe it at first, depressed by the thought of such major rewrites. But the more I thought about it, the more it made sense, so I started trying to work out the changes that needed to be made.

My goal is to have these revisions done in a month so I can begin the query process again. I have no idea if that's a realistic timeline, but I know what I'm capable of and I know these characters and their story so I'm pretty sure a month is doable. It's still an overwhelming task to face, but now that I'm in a more positive state of mind I'm ready to face it and conquer it!

Have you ever faced this kind of overhaul of a novel? How did you handle it?

14 comments:

Jen Chandler said...

Hi Mara,

I have overhauled a trilogy THREE TIMES now and I can tell you it doesn't get any easier. But it gets better.

Every time you take an honest look at your work, and determine to follow the story and what it's trying to tell you, it becomes more true to your original vision.

Even if you have no idea what your characters are doing to the story :) Trust them, trust yourself and you can get it done!

Cheers!
Jen

Angela Felsted said...

I think it's fabulous that an agent gave you actual feedback. What an encouraging development!

Meredith said...

I've overhauled one of my novels so many times that it's hardly recognizable anymore, but it's so much better for it. You just have to let yourself cut a whole bunch and really examine the story. It's great to get agent feedback! That means you're on the right track :)

Kate said...

I agree with Angela, how wonderful to have someone actually take the time to read and give you advice on how to improve. I've never been brave enough to send any of my work out- so you're already leaps and bounds ahead of me. I have no doubt that you've got the tenacity to stick with your story and see that it finds a home in the publishing world. Good luck with your revising!

Quinn said...

I've never overhauled a novel completely, but I would if I saw the need for it.

It's great that you got the partial request and, even though the agent didn't request more, the feedback.

Candyland said...

Oh yeeessss. I just went through major revisions over the last month and it was HARD. Good luck to you...

Steena Holmes said...

I'm waiting on partial and fulls - so I know that revision is just around the corner.

JEFritz said...

Getting feedback is a feat in and of itself. Clap yourself on the back for getting that far. Good luck on your overhaul! Stay tough. What comes out will be beautiful.

Kittie Howard said...

This is fabulous news! Congrats! You only need one positive response to move forward. I'd just trust my instincts (as you already knew where they were) and move forward with a little sledge handle. Good luck!

Mara Nash said...

You guys are all awesome! Thanks for the comments. What at first seemed like a daunting task, something that was depressing, is now feeling more like a challenge to be embraced.

Going to start digging into it...NOW!

Joanna St. James said...

You can do it, and once you start you will see it get s easier. Feedback is always golden.

Raquel Byrnes said...

Wow, free constructive help from an agent is rare and should be celebrated. They don't usually have the luxury of time...so great gift for you!
Have fun in revisions!Sounds like you're on the write track.
Edge of Your Seat Romance

DL Hammons said...

That's good that your focusing on the positive...useful input from a relaible source. A major overhaul can be daunting...but keep the prize in mind and the task will be over in no time! :)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! :)

Sarah said...

I know that the rejections can seem daunting, but the fact that you got a request for a partial and also some agent feedback to boot means that you're on the right road. Congratulations!

I'm at same point you are. I though I was done, but in the process of querying my novel a few things started to bother me and I decided to take a break and get a rewrite in before I continued sending it out there. It is a bit heartbreaking, because in some ways it feels like going backwards.

You thought you were ready, but you actually aren't. On the other hand, it sounds like you've made peace with it. Your story will be even more awesome, I'm sure!