Writers, I wish all of you could have joined me at the annual Andrea Brown Literary Agency, Inc. Writer's Retreat. Wow! That's a mouthful, but totally worth getting out.
I've been going to this event for the past 3 years, and this year was the absolute best for me. And it all comes down to listening, learning, and applying the critiques.
The first year I went to this retreat I thought, "They're going to love my work. I'm going to show them how awesome I am as a writer and, poof, I'll have an agent just like that."
And it didn't happen because I wasn't ready to listen. When I got a critique I didn't like, which was many, I simply said, "They don't know what I'm writing - or - They don't know where this is going - or - This is first person, I have to use I + verb all the time - or - If they read to the end, they'll understand."
The second year I went I was a more experienced writer and listener. I had been in a critique group for an entire year, trying to figure out why my writing hadn't been strong enough. I thought for sure this will be the year I'll snag myself an agent.
Still didn't happen.
This time it wasn't because I didn't listen. I was open to all the critique. It was because I was still learning. I was told by one of the agents that I was indeed a good writer, but the emotions of the characters weren't strong enough for her. I was dumbfounded. I had worked a whole year revising and believed I had done my best work. But obviously I hadn't.
This year, my 3rd year, I felt confident. I had a new project I was bringing. I had worked hard. I had listened and learned and took everything that I heard and understood and I had revised my heart out. I tapped into my emotions and laid them out on the page.
It hasn't happened yet…
BUT - I am excited to say that the author of PAY IT FORWARD, Catherine Ryan Hyde, believes my first chapter is ready to query agents. It doesn't get any better than that - well, except to actually snag an agent. And one of the editors of HarperTeen said, "I can see this as a movie." And she wanted to read more.
So my hard work is showing promise. And it's all because I listened, learned, and applied the critiques and sound advice to revising my manuscript.
- Don't give up!
- Be open to critique
- Listen and take notes
- Learn what is throwing readers out of your manuscript
- Apply the critique that resonates with you - but be picky - keep your story true
- Practice your craft - write everyday
- Focus on your writing
- And know you can do it
Good Luck and