Saturday, August 22, 2009

Submission Shakes

I had a dream last night in which I submitted the first 250 words of my novel to an agent for an online contest. She picked mine to be one of the ones to critique. Great, huh? No. In my dream, I read on her blog: “Sierra Godfrey’s story is predictable. I’ve seen a thousand like hers before. She writes well, but the story is mundane.”

Well. Imagine my horror. That was me thinking, “Well that sucks…of course every agent is different….but that really sucks. What am I supposed to do now?” Then I had some lucidity and actually thought, still under the surface of sleep, "This is a dream. She didn’t actually say that. No one has actually said that. You’re still safe.”

This is why, I think, we are so afraid to query or send stuff out. We all know nothing is worse than that initial query. The rejection is fierce, not just because when you get it, it’s crushing, but because it might reveal something we’d really rather not confront: that our stories might be crap, or this one that we toiled over for moon upon moon is not going to be the one, or maybe our writing isn’t up to snuff and we have ten more years ahead of us of learning. No one wants to think that! A look at Miss Snark’s First Victim’s current Secret Agent contest reveals this, in which 50 entries are judged by an agent by their first 250 words, the title, and the genre. You can tell that some writers still have a long way to go yet, but that doesn’t eclipse the fact that they put effort, passion, and hard work into those pieces. It’s hard work to write a novel, to carry a story through. Even if the story has problems, it’s really hard to create a plot, have a beginning, a middle, and end. It’s why most people who say they’re working on a novel, or want to write one, never do. Or they start and can’t finish, because it’s daunting. It takes time, and we don’t want to put time in, especially when we’re exhausted from a day of working and caring for your family.

I think it all comes down to two things: perseverance, and a willingness to pull your head out of your backside and take a careful look at your writing. You need to always want to improve, and then you need to do it. If you do those two things, you’ll probably get published some day.

I'm really effing glad that that was just a dream, though.

On Monday, I'll post the second in the occasional Santorini series: The Music.


coffeelvnmom said...

I'm glad it was only a dream too! And my fear regarding the query is that I won't be able to get the conflict in the plot to come across well enough in only a few short paragraphs. Like, how in the world do you say all of that and instill the level of drama, in only a few words? Does that make sense? If only we could all get rid of the "what if's" and just throw them in a jar or something, right?

Sierra Godfrey said...

Tell you what: what's the conflict? Put it right here in the comments.

coffeelvnmom said...

no...not giving it away...I need to email you already. Is it listed on your site? If not, would you direct message it to me on twitter? I'm scared to death that if the big time parts of the story get out, it's ruined. Is that stupid?

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