Book Update: Good and Bad News

Two weeks ago, I talked about how I wanted to throw my manuscript in the trash, but my novel writing journey hasn’t been one big discouraging experience.  I had a lot of moments where celebration bells went off in my head as I finished certain milestones:

  • When I came up with a plot some unplotted chapters after pacing for an hour
  • When I finished my first draft!
  • When I finished reading through and marking up my first ever manuscript in paper
  • When I wrote my first query letter
  • When I queried the first agent
  • When I got my first rejection letter (yes, I saw this as a badge christening me as “a real writer.”)

I’ve grown so much since that day I first decided to write a book, and each of these milestones gave me the motivation to keep going. But there’s one milestone that REALLY gave me a supercharged boost in motivation.

And now for the drum roll….

drum roll gif

An agent from Writer’s House asked to look at my manuscript!

Yes, you read that right. It isn’t a typo or me being a writing and making up stories. 😛

She didn’t choose to represent it, but it was just about the best news I’ve received all year. It meant that at least something about this story was worth interest. It also meant that I must be writing my query letters right too. 😉

The agent said that The Hashna Stone was an “original concept” and that I’d “done a great job creating a novel with a strong voice and engaging characters.” She said that she didn’t connect strongly enough with the book to represent it though.

This agent’s interest gave me more than just a ray of hope that one day, someone would represent it. She gave me an opportunity to look at my work, yet again, and be a little more critical.

Image result for looking at something disgusted disney gif

Her email left me thinking, “What made her say no?” It could truly be that she loved everything about the book, but its style wasn’t quite something she wanted to represent. But most likely, there was something flawed about the story.

It wasn’t the idea, the overall story concept itself. She said it was an original concept.

It wasn’t that a lack of voice or that I had flat characters. So what was it that turned this agent away?

As I started thinking about how the story unfolds, I realized that I wasn’t entirely happy with the ending, and chances are, if I’m not happy with it an agent wouldn’t be either.

It needed to be bigger, there needed to be a few more scenes, the other viewpoint character has a last scene that just doesn’t seem to wrap everything up as nicely as Dalan’s.

There was a LOT of work that needed to be done. And here I was thinking it was finished. *sigh*

So, that is what I’m working on now, dear Epic Dreamers. Sending to agents has been put on pause so I can rewrite about ten of the last chapters (which also means rewriting quite a bit in the first and middle, because it has to reflect and foreshadow what happens in the end). I’m excited about these changes because it’s making The Hashna Stone a better story, and hopefully the next time an agent asks to read my manuscript, she’ll say yes.

 

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14 thoughts on “Book Update: Good and Bad News

  1. Recent events in my life changed my thought process we all seem to have: If something goes wrong, it MUST be OUR fault. I realize now that’s not the case most of the time – still we constantly blame ourselves.
    The agent stated that your manuscript is an original concept, but she couldn’t represent it at this time. Sounds to me she doubted herself, taking a chance on an original concept.
    If the polish you put on The Hashna Stone makes it better, great. But if you sent it out, it must have been good before the changes.
    Save her Email. That’s proof that you are doing something right.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s true. It isn’t always our fault when things don’t go well, and going through life thinking that every bad thing that happens to us is because of something we did isn’t healthy.
      There was a lot of good in my story, but the end chapters did need some work. I don’t know if that’s part of why she turned it down or not. She may have not even read that far. 😀 I do think these changes will make the story better, but it is good to remember that just because an agent doesn’t represent a story it doesn’t mean that something is wrong with it. Otherwise my story would end up a hot mess because of all the changes. 😛
      I’m definitely keeping her email. I need all the encouragement I can get!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I know I haven’t posted much on here but know that I do follow you and I am excited about your book and I love this post!! I love it for the good news but more for your attitude that is displayed in it!
    Its HARD to be a writer, really! Our own words are judged by others and that is hard when we think we have done such a great job and then realize we have to edit once again. But let me assure you it is so rewarding in the end!!! Keep at it, you will get there! When I held my new book in my hands this past summer tears came to my eyes. For it seemed like such a far away dream, but it did come true through hard work and determination. Don’t lose heart!! ❤ Cheering you on! And remember even J.R.R. Tolkien had his manuscripts turned down, people said know to Walt Disney. But they didn't give up and look what happened! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement! It means so much to hear that you are excited about my book and that you are cheering me on. 🙂
      Writing is difficult, especially breaking into the “published author” world. Awesome people like you keep me going. 🙂
      Congrats on your book! That’s so exciting! It’s so encouraging to hear about other authors getting their books published. It gives me hope that one day I can be among them.
      Thanks for the reminder that good idea’s and talented people get turned down too. I’m definitely motivated to keep writing after your comment. Thanks!

      Like

      1. Yay! So glad I could pass on hope to you! You are welcome! Thanks for your congrats! My friend and I wrote the book together , it was a lot of fun but as you know a lot of work as well!
        Now I am really enjoying the fun part by going to schools and sharing stories from the book. Knowing your book is making kids smile is a wonderful thing!

        Like

      2. How fun! You got to write the book with your friends. That must be quite different than the solo journey I’ve been on.
        Is your book middle grade or picture book?
        It must be wonderful to see the impact your book is making. 🙂

        Like

  3. That’s a really positive response from an agent, I’m so happy for you! Sure, not as good as a “yes”, but from what I hear, the most common response is flat-out zero interest, so getting interest and even useful feedback is wonderful! And I think you’re absolutely right: if you don’t totally love the ending and the character arcs, probably others won’t either.

    I hate to bring this up, but you should probably steel yourself for making several more revisions. Even once you find an agent who wants to represent you, he or she might ask for several rounds before they think it’s ready to send to publishers, and then more revisions once they get feedback from the publishers/editors. One of my main critique partners is represented, and she’s gone through so many revisions — it does get a little heartbreaking. But then, if it makes the story better, you’ll be more satisfied and proud of the final product.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was so encouraging to get a response from an agent, even if she ended up not representing me. Like you said, most of the time you hear nothing from the agents you query, or they send you the standard “thanks but no” message. It was exciting to have someone ask to read my manuscript. 🙂
      I’ve heard that once you get an agent you’ll have to make a lot more revisions. I’m trying not to think about that part right now. 😛 But yeah, revisions will make the story better, even if they are a pain sometimes.

      Liked by 1 person

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