I’ve just spent about a week away from home – I’m very happy to be back, and if you could see Spook doing his impression of a shoulder fungus, you’d know he was happy to have me back, too. At first I thought he’d left half a squirrel on the front walk for me, just in case I was feeling peckish. Turns out it was a dead weasel.
One of the things I did on this trip was meet with a literary agent who has expressed interest in my work. In April she gave me some good suggestions for improvement, and I’m acting on them. I wanted to introduce myself, give her a face to go with the email “voice”.
While the meeting was brief, I felt it was good. This may be due to my complete inexperience in the field, of course, but I left feeling hopeful. My plan now is to finish this third draft by the end of June, and then go over it again and really polish. In between those two things, I’ll be sending it out to my readers again, those who can bear to read it a second time.
She also said that she liked my other ideas for novels, and found them original, and that she was pleased that I had a good writers’ group. At least I understand that editing is important, and I know something about the process. Apparently much of what crosses an agent’s desk is from people who have one story only, and who don’t understand about editing. It’s certainly a bit of a revelation, when you believe that a writer comes up with everything about a story on her own, to find out how many other people actually have significant input.
Although I don’t have a deadline, I still plan to get on wi’ t’ job. For one thing, turning up with a well-polished manuscript in good time will make me feel better than turning up with it in a year. For another, while I love the writing life, I may need to find a job in the fall to keep the bills paid, and that will take a chunk out of my writing time. I need to make good use of what I have.
I’ve had mixed reviews of this meeting from my writing friends. I’m quite touched that some of them are huffing, “Well of course you’re a serious writer!” and being a bit annoyed on my behalf that the agent might think otherwise. Of course, she hasn’t known me for as long as they have. I could be a dilettante. (Well, I could! If I wanted to, so there!)
I also picked up a book on writing young adult literature. While I think that probably the best way to learn to write is to write and then get critique, and rewrite and get critique again, there’s certainly something to be learned from experienced writers in a genre, and I learn well from books.
So I’m off on another stage of my journey to young-adult-authorhood. Wish me luck.