In an earlier post, I talked about how you don’t have to settle for less with your writing (or your anything, really). You can always put in the work to make it better, if you want.
Related to that: YOU can put in the work to make it better. And you’ll have to, because no one else will do it for you.
That’s definitely one lesson that’s been reinforced for me lately. While I craft my proposals for The Major Publisher That’s Interested in Twenty-Somewhere (there’s got to be a shorter way to say that…) I’ve been querying agents again. And the response I’m getting from many of them is that my story sounds great and they’d love to see the manuscript. When I’m done revising it for TheMajPub.
I was kind of hoping to get an agent to help me work on those revisions. (By “help” I mean giving me feedback and corresponding with TheMajPub, not the actual writing of course.) Now, I can do it on my own — and apparently I will — but I’m one of those authors who is really looking forward to having an agent, someone with industry experience to guide me, a second opinion on my story and my writing. I view agents as little publishing angels, not grubby middlemen I wish I could do without.
(Sadly and strangely, yes, some authors hold the latter opinion.)
Alas, agents view me as an unproven writer with a good idea but no concrete manuscript or offer. And I can’t fault them for that. I guess technically that’s what I am.
Until I can go back to them with good news from TheMajPub and/or a fabulous ms, I am depending on family and friends (like y’all!) to cheer me on and give me counsel. There are also a lot of great resources for aspiring writers online. Right now I’m using Kathy Carmichael’s workshop on writing a synopsis to help turn my notes into something solid for TheMajPub. (Found via Diana Peterfreund.)
For me, one of the big debates has been whether to write 1 book featuring 3 girls at the same time, or 3 books featuring 1 girl at a time. Ultimately I’ll be offering TheMajPub both options, and I think either one could work really well. But Twenty-Somewhere started as a story about 3 girlfriends going through these life experiences “together,” even though they were far apart. And part of me thinks that’s how it should stay…
Then again, in working on the proposals, I’ve been able to flesh out more of each girl’s conflicts when they get a whole book to themselves…
So it’s sort of a toss-up.
What do you guys think? 1 book with 3 girls, a la Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants? Or a trilogy tackling 1 girl at a time, much like Nora Roberts does? Of course, TheMajPub might want Book 1 of the trilogy but not commit to the other 2… but let’s not get ahead of ourselves, shall we?