Writer’s Workshop: Contest Coming Soon!

I was so excited about summer, back in May. It was going to be my magical time to write and revise and edit…my golden ticket to the candy factory of getting paid to make shit up. I had a brilliant plan in place. In the weeks I had between the end of school and the beginning of camp, I was going to revise my novel to a point that I would be content sending it out for review by agents. By the end of September, I planned to have researched agents, written query letters, and sent out my first pleas for rejection to leave my free to spend October and November outlining the sequel.

Before you laugh, I have to defend my lofty plans by saying that I have a track record of being a damn fine editor. I have taken a hundred-page academic thesis in a discipline that is not my own and polished it in under a week on more than one occasion. Can do, have done. In my mind, whipping 70,000 words of fantasy into shape should have been a cake walk. And…if it was someone else’s work, that might be true. Have you ever tried major reworking of a story? It’s like telling your quirky kid that he need liposuction and a few hours in the tanning bed. Well, okay, more like a change in diet and some moderate exercise from time to time, but even though the changes will improve my novel immensely, I’m finding them extremely difficult to make.

I buckled down on Monday and spent some quality time writing a query letter and researching agents. Three paragraphs took me about as long as two chapters of the book itself. I’m still not pleased with them, but it looks like I’ll have plenty of time to edit it: every piece of advice I’ve come across recommends having your manuscript in mailing form before you send our your query letters. Apparently nothing kills interest faster than not being ready to mail out a manuscript if an agent asks to read it.

So here’s my plan: I’m begging for help, for which I will pay with cookies. I’m telling you this now to keep myself accountable. On October 31st, I will have finished my first major revision of my novel, according to the plan I have outlined. On that date, I will be publishing a call for editors. I will send out my manuscript via email to anyone who volunteers to help, along with an outline of what I intend the book to be. The first five people to read my manuscript and return it to me with edits made via “track changes” and “comments” will receive a batch of homemade cookies and a custom-designed mug sweater. The second five to read it and return it will receive a custom-designed mug sweater. Everyone who reads it and returns it with comments will receive immortality in print if ever I land a publishing deal, as I will thank you all in my front matter using the nom de plume of your choice. I will give more details about the sort of feedback I need in the October 31st post. It is not a task for the faint-hearted, but knowing my few (but loyal) fans are cheering me on with their blue and red metaphorical pens will help me plow through the writing of book number two during NaNoWriMo.

So…who’s with me? Do I have any editorially-minded takers out there?

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