A Sad Update

Oh what misery hath life wrought. Or some such nonsense.

It’s a new day, as is every day, but this one sort of begins a work week which is week one of the last month before I start a new job in the medical field. What does the medical field have to do with writing or publishing? Pretty much nothing. Except for the fact that the time will come when my hours for writing will be even more severely limited than they already are. But, with a new income at my disposal, hopefully the amount of food I’m able to consume will increase, granting me the necessary energy to write more vigorously… as well as granting me the clarity of mind to not write so vigorously that I annihilate my keyboard.

All that aside, today’s post is going to be a reminder and an update on certain issues.

First off: There’s still time to go over to Literary Rambles and enter a contest to have your query critiqued by Brent Taylor of TriadaUS.

Secondly: There’s also still time to clean up your query and first few pages of your manuscript before May 20th and TheWriter’sVoice2015.

There’s a slew of other offers, contests and opportunities out there as well, but I don’t know where they’re at. My weekend was full of digging through the mountainous Colorado soil in an attempt to make space for a garden which will hopefully yield me “free” food. Mountainous Colorado soil, for those of you who aren’t aware, sucks to dig up. A veritable orgy of plant roots lies beneath the surface. That Harris Ford movie, What Lies Beneath—orgies of plant roots are what that movie was really about. A hearty film analysis may very well prove my theory true.

Also, I spent some more time working for an internet site called MiniMotionPictures.com, whereat I’m currently writing film critiques. If you enjoy short films and new-and-upcoming talents, you may want to check out the site sometime this weekend. If all’s going well over there, they’ll be up and running on the 15th. If I critiqued a film of yours and you took offense—don’t take it personally. It’s not that I think your film sucked, it’s that I think you didn’t make the best effort.

A lot of people toss crap out into the world of entertainment thinking what they’ve done is awesome… now, don’t get me wrong, finishing a film or a manuscript or an album-length recording—all those things are phenomenal accomplishments. Few people ever reach those goals in the long run. But just because it’s finished, doesn’t mean it’s great. Authors who, looking for criticism, have tossed caution to the wind and thrown their work into the inter-web-net-thingy quagmire of publishing hopefuls learn this lesson right quick-like. Just because you’ve finished a first draft doesn’t mean it’s good.

Who knew toilet paper came with free prose?

(For some excellent examples of the above lesson, go check out QueryShark)

First drafts are generally considered a crude outline of what you want your story to be. But after the first draft, you have a chance to go back and catch errors, round out characters, surface your themes and reassess the plot to see if it might be tightened or loosened accordingly. The first draft of my latest attempt at a novel was more than 94k words—which is way too long for the novel’s genre.

By my third draft, I’d weeded out unnecessary scenes, tightened the plot to the brink of snapping, and had a genuine understanding of all my characters. Oh, I also cut out nearly 20 (TWENTY) thousand words. That’s 20,000 words. That’s more than one-fifth of the book I erased.

Hopeful film-makers might consider this approach after editing together the first cut of their movies as well. I wish they would now that I’m getting paid in Ramen packets to critique their work.

Again, it’s no small feat putting together the quality of films I’ve seen. A few of them have actually taken me by surprise. But just because you have a product doesn’t mean it’s the best product you can make.

Now!

Unwarranted and ridiculously long, unnecessary rant aside, I thought I’d update everyone who’s actually made it this far on my Query status.

I’ve kept a record of the dates, agents, and agencies I’ve thus far queried… as well as my rejections.

Perhaps when I have time, I’ll add links to the agents and agencies, as of now, I’m exhausted and have other things to tends to.

To date, it looks like this (Warning–formatting might be screwy for phones):

AGENT NAME           AGENCY                     SENT DATE            RESPONSE DATE

Eric Smith                P.S.Literary                  4/12/2015

Rebecca Strauss      DeFiore&Co.                4/13/2015                  R      4/27/2015

Jennifer Rofe        AndreaBrown                4/13/2015

Bill Contardi        Brandt&Hochman         4/14/2015            R      4/14/2015

Alex Slater          TridentMedia                   4/15/2015

Linda Epstein        Jennifer de Chiara        4/18/2015

Brent Taylor         TriadaUS                         5/5/2015             R      5/25/2015

Suzie Townsend       New Leaf Lit.              5/6/2015

Patricia Nelson      Marsol Lyon                  5/8/2015

Anyone writing Middle Grade as well? Do you have any agent rejection or acceptance stories to share? Or… any helpful info at all 😛 ?

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