Dream Agent Come True

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YOU GUYS!!!!!!!! I’ve dreamed about writing this post a million times!!

A million times!

That’s A LOT of dreaming these past three years. *apologizes for dirty laundry piles and massive amounts of take-out*

Not really.

But I just pinched myself again and I’m awake!  The dream-coma is over!

I have an agent!!!

*Twirly Heel Squee!*

A FABULOUS, she-totally-gets-me agent––the lovely, Victoria Selvaggio of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency! ❤ ❤   *mouths no backsies!*

She is amazing!!!!

And I know I should’ve brought gifs, TONS and LOADS of gifs, but I just couldn’t wait to get the words out. So please excuse any unsightly typos and imagine the most honored, deliriously happy, teary-eyed Gif-Girl you can think of (hourglass figure optional, but very much appreciated), and blast her here!

Blink her like a motel sign gone haywire, ‘cause that’s how red neon-flavored thrilled I am to be rep’d by her!!

After three years, four books, and uh, well let’s just say a tidy collection of rejections later, I wrote the Middle Grade story that brought me to Vicki’s querying doorstep. Three years!

But you know what? Every day of my writing journey up until this point (yes, including the rejections-–yes, even the form ones) has been irreplaceable!

I wrote my first whole book, then another, then another…and although I consider all these very much starter stories, I love them just as hard. In fact, I have some unforgettable memories with them, like:

Hey, ‘member when I sent out that first 70,000 word MG story and then realized I left out a period––in the first sentence?

Oh! And how about those first queries that were like 579+ words each?!

Ahhhh…Good times.

*head desk*

*repeat*

Yup.

All part of the journey.

All those with a similar cringe-worthy memory, please raise your hand. Okay, put ‘em down, I can’t see.

BUT!! (warning, many BUTS ahead) BUT!!…Then came my writing buddies.

My unbelievably talented CPs.

*pets screen*

The writer friends that stuck with me and cheered me on (and put up with my zillionth revision of like, the same three words–over and over and over and over and…)

The angels who continue to make me a better writer, because they, no-joke, spillover with awesome sauce on a daily basis. *laps up brain extrees*   mmmm…commas

I ADORE you guys, you know that, right?

RIGHT???

And then came #PitchWars, hosted by Brenda Drake (aka, our Twitter Fairy Godmother), and Brooks Benjamin, who I was lucky enough to be mentored by in 2014 when he chose my MG Contemporary story (still can’t believe it!). I could totally gush on him all day (and have), but even though I got picked for this amazing contest, I didn’t get any requests in the agent round. It was actually the next story I wrote that connected with my agent.

BUT you know what?

She loved my #PitchWars story, too! So now we have two stories to shine up for submission. And that story wouldn’t have been in the shape it was in if not for #PitchWars! Cue gush.

So, needless to say, if it weren’t for ALL these guys––every single person who was kind enough to have eyes on my words at one time or another––I would NOT be writing this post.

A writer writes alone, but a writer is never really alone––unless they chose to be. (Squee! My first quote! *hands out embossed cards*).

So for anyone out there still waiting on their “yes” and who might think, “Will that ever be me?” (like I did many, many, many times), I’d just like to Vavoom-shout say:

PLEASE! PLEASE! PLEASE!!!! DON’T EVER GIVE UP!! IT WILL BE YOU!!!

And if WordPress weren’t watching, I’d even throw in a couple-a bobbly head shoulder shakes. That’s how much I don’t want you to give up––I’m willing to risk Blog Prison!!

These past three years, I practically lived off my fellow writer peep’s success stories! Each awesome post fed me with hope. They were my Ramen noodles. And each one of them always told me the same thing: NEVER GIVE UP! So I’m just passing on the truth, here (in my outside voice).

BUT juuuust in case you could use a little more than screamy-fonts…how ‘bout this?

Just Write.

You know, that thing you love more than anything? That passion that moves you like nothing else?

Just Write.

Create those characters that scream to be heard. The ones you can’t stop thinking about. The ones that crack you up or frustrate you beyond belief. Pump them up with as much inventive DNA as possible until they all but breathe off the page, demanding to be let out to meet the world.

Just Write.

And read.

And research.

Enter contests and put yourself out there––The generosity of our writing community will utterly astound you!

And give back, lend an eye whenever possible. Reach out to other writers. Swap chapters, or queries, or ideas, or whatever! And surround yourself with the most positive, creative CPs you can find, those who are just as passionate about this writing journey as you are. Support and cheer each other on! (‘cause cake-emojis are free, y’all!)

And don’t ever stop making those amazing writer connections––because those writers will enrich your journey and make you better than you could ever imagine!

Just Write.

Because it’s what you do.

Just Write.

Because how else will the world ever get to know your amazing voice?

Just Write.

And the rest will follow.

Promise.

 xoxoxo

THANK YOU ALL for being a part of my journey and for allowing me to be part of yours.  <3<3<3<3<3<3<3<3!!!!!! Melyssa

Oh, and I’m not really a cat, I just play one on Twitter. (-:

16327371d2d6e89794c052662917d989 me and mac

P.S. If you’re just starting out, below are some blog follow-links to those astoundingly generous writers I was telling you about. Some host contests, some post essential info about the publishing industry, but all are plain awesome. Go follow them. The path is gold!

Fine print:

Every time you compare your success to someone else’s journey, an angel loses its wings. And you get a zit. And an incurable jungle-rash. True story. Maybe. #SaveYourSkin #ShouldaQuitAtFirstQuote

(For the after-I-calmed-down version of my Getting the Call story, my lovely CP, Jackie was kind enough to host me on her gorgeous blog <3)

Plotsy Pants

New_new_york_doctor_who

A shiny rainbow fog blows from the spout of a magic lamp.

“…Rainbow?” I question, not trusting my own eyes, even as the genie transforms out of colored thin air. “Seriously?”

The genie coughs up a glittery fog ball, but quickly recovers. “Yes, but my friends call me Diverse.” He stretches the stiffness out of his smoky bones and zones in with an inquisitive stare. “So creative writer, what is your wish?”

My mouth moves, but no words come out this time. Diverse brushes some stray specs off of each shoulder,  clearly waiting for me to recover from shock. When he’s sparkle-free, he shoots me a look that says he hasn’t got all day.

OMG! OMG! Here’s my chance! I can have anything I want. My writing wish come true! Right here, right now…a fabulous agent, multiple book offers, a big screen movie deal—I can ask for ANYTHING!

“I’d like to be a Plotter please.”

Diverse rolls his eyes, and I can see bold letters scrolling across his yellow irises. I’m not sure, but I think they’re spelling out what he’s thinking. I move in closer to read: Oh God , please not another obsessive writer.

Well that wasn’t very nice.

This time I address his nose. “Yes, a Plotter. You know, as in planting prose so I can snip stems of ideas off whenever I like. I’ve tried outlining stories before, but nothing ever grows. My creativity wilts inside any kind of structured walls.”

“So why bother?” he asks. “Is being a Pantser getting in the way of your writing career?”

I flick my earlobe. “That would mean I’d actually have to have a writing career right?”

I scan the tart response in Dive’s eyes—I’m pretty sure he spelled pathetic wrong.

“Well, even though I’m not published yet, I guess I’m doing pretty well,“ I counter, more for me than him. “Four completed books in the last year and a half, a brand new WIP, and I can’t help but feel like a better writer after each one. I’ve even had some encouraging interest in my latest story.”

Two impatient stripes of green puff out of Dive’s nostrils. “So? I still don’t see the problem. And I’m sorry to break this to you, but my magic only works for those who don’t have any plotting or pantsing skills whatsoever.”

“What are those people called?”

“Lawyers.”

“But—”

“Sorry, your wishes have no power.”

No power? But what if pantsing isn’t the way to go? What if being a Plotter’s the key to getting published? What if—

“If you’re finished, can you please write me back into the bottle now? Bachelor in Paradise is on in like five.”

I meet his eyes, not bothering to censor my thoughts, hoping he has a reverse-eye-read thingy. Then I realize—I summoned him for nothing.

…I am doing ok. I just can’t give up. I have to write the way I’m most comfortable. Maybe I wasn’t cut out for outlines and spreadsheets, or organization (just ask my closet). Maybe I’m just over thinking this whol–

“Sometime today, Pants Mistress?”

And with just one delete, Diverse is gone.

But I can bring him back anytime I want­­—and no outline’s ever gonna stop me.

 

So how does your writing garden grow? (-:

KEEPING UP WITH THE QUERYING JONESES

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Two coffee-carrying writers step into the investigation room ready for another round of query cases.

Writer 1 rubs her hands together: “Ok, so what’s hot right now?”

Writer 2 approaches the Query Tracking pin board and points to a faded yellow post-it. “Someone around here just got an agent with this premise.” She holds up the Twitter evidence for Writer 1’s inspection.

Writer 1: “Hmm…a YA Beetlejuice meets Cracker Jack Guy retelling from that little dog’s POV mystery horror with a paranormal/musical Grease twist.” Pauses. “Ok, if it worked for her… Let’s do it!”

Both writers scramble to change their premises and queries to a YA Beetlejuice meets Cracker Jack Guy retelling from that little dog’s POV mystery horror with a paranormal/musical Grease twist.

Writer 1: “We’re SO getting an agent, too!”

Writer 2: “Yup, good thing we never leave the Twitter feed unattended.”

Writer 1: “Uh oh, wait, this just in.” Reads from phone. “Agent landed with an Upper MG Mortal Kombat meets Barney preadolescent/Three Stooges/sci-fi baseball magical realism in an American Idol society.

Writer 2: “What does that even mean?”

Writer 1: “No idea. Just start revising.”

Writer 2: “Right!”

Papers crunch, delete buttons slam. Slight swearing ensues.

Writer 2: “Oh, I forgot! Last week someone sold this book!” Shoves phone under Writer 1’s nose.

Writer 1 lowers glasses to read: “NA animal time traveling circus in space, escapes earth due to airborne crotch disease­­­––OMG! Of course! Why didn’t we think of that? I’m changing mine!”

Writer 2: “Me, too!”

Writer 2: “Wait!” She looks up, tapping a pen to her lips.  “Didn’t I see something on Twitter that a query shouldn’t be more than 253.7 words to land an agent? I think mine is 251.4”

Writer 1: “Mine is 257.1. You’re right. Lets change them again.”

Paper balls fly.

“And I heard wearing this perfume works.”

“Oh and blondes are luckier.”

Both put on wigs.

“I think my MS should be in first person…or fifth.”

“Write two versions, just in case.”

“Right. Wait, I’ll do nine!”

“Someone just sold a Dystopian.”

“I thought Dystopian was dead?”

“I’m changing mine to Dystopian. I could bring it back.”

“Good idea, me too.”

“Ohio’s calling in for a progress report.”

“Ohio, you’re on.”

Ohio Writer: “Diverse zombies, and three-foot action porn is the next new trend.”

“I’ll take the porn.”

“I got the zombies.”

Paper ball tornado.

“Are you entering that new online contest?”

“Not sure, can you be in twelve at the same time?”

“I don’t see why not.”

Husband knocks impatiently: “Honey, come on! Are you ready to go yet?”

Writer 1: “Was that yours or mine?”

Writer 2: “Doesn’t matter. Don’t move and they won’t know we’re here.”

***

Spongebob Narrator voice: Three thousand queries later…

Writers lay across a patchwork blanket of revised queries and premises.

Writer 1 picks up her latest query: “Well, I think we did it. A YA Anti-bacterial wipe Bachelorette meets Click, Clack, Moo in a Hunger Games Mar’s ghetto type arena with a grunge, Hairspray eighties theme––Dude, we’re SO getting published right now.”

Writer 2 checks her phone with bleary eyes. “Yup, but hold on…there’s another update––”

“Ugh! I don’t even want to know.”

“But WE HAVE TO KEEP UP!”

“Ok, you’re right, I’m ready.

More changes

More updates

More changes

More updates

More drinkin..More changes

“OK. I think we’re finally ready…”

“Wait, I have an idea. You submit mine and I’ll submit yours.”

“Good thinking!”

Dusty cartoon scramble.

Submit buttons pressed.

Room implodes.

Husbands enter to retrieve their writer-weary-wives.

Husband 1: “Is yours always like this, too?”

Husband 2: ”Only when I’m paying attention.”

Husband 1 pulls a piece of paper from his wife’s exhausted grasp.

Husband 2: “What’s it say?”

Husband 1: “It’s their tombstone request:

SPREAD THE WORD: Write for yourself––The rest will come!

THE NON-QUERYING SPOUSE

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THE NON-QUERYING SPOUSE by MyInnerMG

Pitch:

When a clueless, yet well-meaning husband struggles to understand his spouse’s lengthy querying process, the persistent agent-seeking wife must dig deep for patience and understanding before she starts thinking that his non-writerly advice to ‘just call and find out what’s going on’ starts to make sense. THE NON-QUERYING SPOUSE would appeal to anyone waiting for a response on a query and their significant other who, although wonderful in every other aspect, just doesn’t get it.

First 250:

“You’re still waiting to hear back on your query?” my husband asks.

“Yeah, I might have to revise it. I’ll just wait and see wha…”

“I don’t understand why you’re sweating this. Just call the agents up and ask them what they think.”

For the record, if my husband weren’t so generally competent and handy around the house, I’d question his overall sanity and have him committed.

“It doesn’t work like that. They’re not pizza guys you can just call and ask how much longer it’ll be.”

“Why not?”

At least he’s a great father. 

“Because I’m not the only one who ordered a pizza. They have hundreds of deliveries to make.”

“So just email them.”

And last week he even cleaned up after himself.

“No, I’ll wait.”

“What’s so hard? Just call and ask what they thought of your story instead of driving yourself crazy waiting. I’m sure they’ll tell you.”

Uh, yeah, ‘cause that’s how it works.

“I’m not calling. Querying takes time….A lot of time.”

“I thought writing the book was the thing that took all the time, or did you just say that to get out of doing laundry?”

(For the record, a joke is only funny when both people laugh)

“It’ll happen. Thousands of writers are waiting. It’s not just me.”

“Okay, have it your way, but I don’t get it.”

EXACTLY.

#ILoveMyHusband #ILoveMyHusband #ILoveMyHusband #ILoveMyHusband #ILoveMyHusband  #ILoveMyHusband 

 

 

 

 

Getting Under a Writer’s Skin

ap

 

Venus has its Mars and writers have their…well, non-writers.

Not sure if we need our own planets just yet.

Yet.

But this isn’t about football versus feelings. Non-writers see, hear and feel like writers do. They act as we might and for the most part, we are indistinguishable. So what’s the main difference between a writer and a non-writer?

Well, a writer will all but suck the living traits out of a person.

Down to the bone.

Some even further, depending on genre.

No chew, swallow or hiccup is safe around us. We will happily dissect a heartbeat within an inch of its pumpy life. Emotions? Don’t even get me started. There’s not a therapy session big enough.

Writers dig deeper and evaluate on a keener level because of our never-ending desire to strain our observations into words. We do this so that we can organically inject our characters will realness.

With sameness.

So that our readers can recognize a piece of themselves in our stories. Because, although new people are cool to meet, isn’t it awesome to be introduced to a new person that you can already relate to in some way right off the bat?

There have been times I wanted to shriek with joy when an author connected with me in this way.  “Me too!” I’d long to shout, while in bed reading. But instead of yelling and scaring the skin off my husband, I just continued devouring every single book that author created. I wanted to be close to them again because that author felt close to me.

Breathing authentic words into relatable characters can feel a little like getting undressed in front of a stranger. Or worse …someone who knows you and will now know what you write (and think and feel and possibly crave).

OMG, real feelings! Someone call the honesty police!

But, you know what? I bet those awesome non-writers think, feel and crave the exact same things. They’re just not chomping at the bit to Scrivenerize it all like we are… But I bet they are chomping at the bit to read it.

Venus and Mars may be forever divided, but writers and non-writers will always find a way to connect.

*tosses planet listings into the trash*

 

 

The Writer’s Elevator

original

 

 

1st Floor: Dreams, Desires, and Determination

 

2nd Floor: Shiny New Ideas with discounts on Procrastinator Models

 

3rd Floor: One size fits all Plotter and Pantser Velour Sweat Suits

 

4th Floor: Writing Software,  Locks, and Spouse Escape Plans

 

5th Floor: Supportive, Got-Your-Back CPs, and Writing Tribes

 

6th Floor: Time -available in stolen, borrowed, and if-I-don’t-move-they-won’t-see-me packages

 

7th Floor: Fancy Juice and Chocolate.

 

Top Floor: YOU!!

 

 

elevator

 

Now press that last button and break through! You can do it! (-:

 

The CP Doctor

Unknown

Your message has been sent!

ME:  ”OMG I can’t believe I just sent my WIP off for the first time without me!”

NORMAL ME:  ”Come on, you knew this would have to happen one day. It’ll be fine.”

ME:  ”But what if she’s cold? Should I have sent a book cover?”

NORMAL ME:  ”Don’t worry, I’m sure your CP won’t let her get cold.”

ME:   “But she’s never been around anyone else before.”

NORMAL ME:   “Everything will be okay. You want her around people right?  Isn’t that kind of the whole point of writing a book?”

ME:   “But what if she doesn’t understand little Wippy? I may need to translate”

NORMAL ME:  ”If that’s the case, your CP will tell you.”

ME:   “Maybe I should write a note.”

NORMAL ME:   “Stop it. Every WIP has to go it alone at some point.  It’s the only way she’ll ever learn to stand on her own.”

ME:   “You’re right.”

NORMAL ME:   “I told you so..”

ME:   “I’m going over there.”

NORMAL ME:   “Sit down! She’ll be fine.”

ME:   “Easy for you to say. Nobody has to get you.”

NORMAL ME: “Jury’s still out on that one.”

…I know, imagine how my husband feels.

 

 

If Words Could Talk

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A coworker casually mentioned that he and his wife had already planned their funerals. Him-in an I Put The Fun in Funeral t shirt. Her-probably rolling in her grave still laughing herself to death.

This got me to thinking of a new story  idea, but really, what doesn’t?

Picture it: Dead People.

Been done?

Okay, Revision #1:

Dead People Laughing  in Heaven.

Well, they’re not crying for gods sake. Duh, it’s Heaven.

The only people who cry up in this heavenly tale are the ones that didn’t truly live. (Subtle hint here) The ones that allowed the naysayers to get the best of them, resulting in conformity. The peeps that ignored their dreams, refusing to explore their god-given (tbd) abilities and passions until the day they died.

(See where I’m going with this?)

Newcomers who arrive with nothing but a sleeve of regret hanging out of their over stuffed suitcases.

Blah, blah, dialogue.

Blah, blah, telling your antagonists to shove it.

Then, a no-blah happy ending by living up to your fullest potential.

Moral of the story: Don’t get caught crying in heaven, they’ll laugh at you.

Or: Laughter is the best revenge on dead people.

Still a WIP.

Maybe knowing what my coworker’s wife made him for dinner, will give me clarity.

I’m on it!

52 Word Pickup

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I think you guys are gonna LOVE this game. I know I do!

Not because I believe throwing my words up in the air when I’m revising will make them sprout comma-magnets, locking them into sentence perfection on the way down. No, it’d be nice, but we all know stuff like that doesn’t happen in the real word… #someonegetonthat.

52 Word Pickup has been around forever and has been known to prevent epic backstory battles and scandalous info dumping drama. (Don’t bother Googling it, it doesn’t exist).

I don’t know about you guys, but my left margin laughs maniacally, whenever I let more than a few returns go by without dialogue or some sort of showing.

Skinny pink-line brat gets all, “Yawn, girl. You’re losin’ ‘em.” And then my quotations sneer back, and then the semicolons get involved…

It gets ugly.

And shrieky.

“Use your inside voice!” My mom’s warning still screams in my head (I know, ironic right?).

So before my WIP gets out of hand, and there’s absolute wordemonium, I snatch up every last phrase involved in the info dumping instigation, and throw them all up in the air.

Of course, no word goes willingly.

And, watch out, they’re slick. I’ve even seen them stoop to italicized shape-shifting;  I’ve also caught some trying to pass themselves off as clever strikethroughs.

But this ain’t this writer’s first wordeo.

I’m in charge of the backspace button here.

Now, I can feel a few writers clutching their laquery, home-row keys, “EEK! Throwing your words up in the air is so harsh! Isn’t there another way? Won’t they get hurt?” …um, I made it through childhood without a car seat, or cell phone so there’s my answer.

52 Word Pickup may sound extreme, but trust me, it’s worth the extra cleanup. It forces a conversation where there was none before. It unclogs the backlog, and leads to solving most editing issues on the eight and a half by eleven stage.

…And, if not, you can always take ‘em out back and shred them. Totally your call.

“And don’t come back down until you can all get along!” Mom may have been loud, but she knew the deal.

 

I Am Not My Query

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On the eve of another fabulous writing contest, I’m shaking the eraser dust from my brain to give myself one last pep talk: I am not my query. I am not my query. I am not…

But wait! You say. What are you talking about silly? Of course you are your query. And to this I say no, or pass the Schnapps-depending on your time zone-I’m not.

Enter Pep Talk in optional five-inch stilettos or pink UGGs.

My query is my story, the one in my head, not the one you tell on a first date…but really shouldn’t have (#regrets #restrainingorder, #etc.). My query isn’t saturated with Doctor Who or American Horror Story fan-drool. It has nothing to do with me. And that one bitty page is waaahay too short to lay out all of my personal stuff, which would likely get rejected based on my twenties alone.

Pep talk. Pep talk. Pep talk.

After many laboring, revision hours with no epidural, I’ve recently tried distancing myself from my query long enough to think of it as a visiting in-law. You know, what you like best about it and what you would change to make it better if you could-if they’d ever leave.

Yes, I did create the words on the page so it’s obviously a reflection of me professionally, but not me personally. Kinda.

Well, enough to get away with this blog pep talk anyway.

I’ve mentioned this before but it’s worth repeating, I love the submission process. It’s the writer’s Olympic flame of hope. And with every rejection, I remind myself-it’s only paper. Paper that can be changed, and often should be, if one wishes to slim down those rejection ratios. And I will keep on revising until I get it right, no matter how long it takes.

My query is not about me but about the story that I’ve created, and if that story gets turned down, yes, it could be because it needs some work (subjectively speaking, of course), but it’s still not about me personally. It’s the structure that I’ve built, which might need a few good hammer swings to strengthen the foundation… or knock it down altogether to start from the ground up. Each contractor knows his or her own stuff best so it’s not for me to say. I’m just here to make up theories.

And hopefully, even if they don’t make any sense, it will work for you guys too. (-:

Whatever the result of this contest or of future ones, I’m always grateful to the talented and generous authors who take time out of their own busy writing lives to host our dreams.

Best of luck to all who enter SunvsSnow tomorrow. Keep those success stories coming!

Thanks to the queens of snow and sun for another amazing opportunity. The twentys are being overnighted.

Next up: I Am Not My Synopsis.

Pfftt. Like I’d ever wanna be that.

http://youtu.be/3e37NtAYb5g

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