I don’t have many opportunities to update the world on what is happening with my own writing. I’m so busy writing reviews and hosting blog tours, any progress I’ve made to get published is left as a mystery. That’s why I’m devoting today to My Writing Journey Rewind…
Last summer I made several resolutions to move this journey forward. It was a three-prong attack—Pitch, New Opinions, and Contests. There has been some encouraging progress in all three areas.
I had never pitched at a conference. It’s basically an 8-minute opportunity to make a literary agent so excited about your work that she or he will request a closer look. Sounds like an infomercial to me. I plunged ahead and pitched one of my stories—THE BIRTHDAY JINX—at a local conference. It’s about a boy with a bad luck birthday. I did my song and dance for the agent. She smiled and asked for 50 pages.
About a month later the agent responded saying she loved the characters but thought the plot needed some work—“resubmit if you do any more revisions.” This led me right into my next resolution…
I have a great critique group although it’s down to just three of us. They have given me feedback and suggestions with all my stories, but they were out of revision ideas for THE BIRTHDAY JINX. I needed fresh eyes. The day after receiving that email from the pitch agent, I received another email from our local SCBWI chapter saying that THE BIRTHDAY JINX was accepted into their author mentorship program. The purpose of the mentorship was to get advice from an established author. I signed up and was matched with the extraordinary Anna-Maria Crum.
I sent her the complete story and she liked the characters. The plot—not so much. Anna-Maria knocked over the tower of blocks (i.e. my plot) and gave me suggestions how to rebuild. We’re into our third set of revisions, and it’s turning into a story with a lot of heart. Even more important—the plot shines. In the middle of this revision I moved into part three of my plan.
These are a great way to possibly receive feedback on your writing and maybe get into what is known as the agent round. I’d had some success in the past reaching the semi-final round only to not be picked for the agent piece. I decided to try again with the Sun vs. Snow contest. They accept 200 entries from MG to Adult and then pick 32 for a panel of agents to look over. A 16% long shot at best.
I researched the agents and found several who were looking for a MG contemporary story. I chose another one of my stories—THE MOJAVE FAILURES—since it was a favorite of my critique group. It’s about four kids who have failed in school for very different reasons. They are given a chance to turn their lives around by a billionaire investor with a past similar to the four. All they have to do is beat an impossible game.
A week later Sun vs Snow released the names of the winning 32. There was my story and the next week four agents requested pages. Take a look at my query letter and first 250 as it was posted on Michelle Hauck’s blog.
My journey continues… more to come soon I hope.