Writing…and rewriting…and rewriting…you get the idea…

So I know I mentioned a little about this last time, but writing is more revising than it is writing a first draft.  I wrote my entire first draft in four months.  I’ve been revising for two years since then.  Remember that almost one year of that was kind of a joke because I had a new baby, but still.  The only good thing in all of that?  The manuscript is so much better.  I’ve had agents request partials.  I mean, that’s at least something.  I’ve also had beta readers really like my writing.  That’s something, too.  And I’ve gotten lots of great feedback that has made the book even better.  The characters are more developed, the plot isn’t far-fetched, and the pacing is good.  Hopefully this will one day land me an agent.

One other thing I’ve been working on is the first paragraph of chapter one.  One of my beta readers liked how she read it (which is the one I have posted), but thought it could be even stronger.  Another beta reader doesn’t like the kind of openings that are vague and kind of omniscient.  You tell me.  I’ll post three possibilities for a beginning and you can leave a comment about which one would hook you in the best.

Option 1:  “Ethan should never have agreed to this.  It was one thing to engage in a friendly round of swordplay with Lord Andrew, his closest friend.  It was another thing entirely to accept Lord Malcolm’s challenge — not one of his closest friends.  And yet here he was, facing one of the best swordsmen in the kingdom.”

Option 2:  “Some things were secret for a reason.  Ethan knew that.  Perhaps better than anyone.  It had been engrained into him like a slow, constant drip of water from the time he could remember.  And yet, he’d still betrayed the most secret knowledge of all.  He’d revealed too much.  Simon would know — even if no one else did.  Ethan squeezed his eyes shut for a brief second and steadied the hand on his sword.  Whether he liked it or not, things were going to change.”

Option 3:  “It had started like any relatively normal day.  Ethan had reluctantly agreed to meet Andrew for a round of swordplay.  He’d walked into the awe-inspiring hall, without feeling the least bit of awe.  He was accustomed to the smooth, stone walls, the shafts of light from the early afternoon sun streaming through the high, narrow windows, the swords neatly arranged in racks, and the groups of men standing in small clusters, some talking, some practicing intricate patterns.”

Anyway, let me know what you think.

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The great search for an agent…

Yesterday I started seriously sending out queries.  Scary.  It’s not even that I’m devastated when I get a rejection.  I’m not, really.  It’s more worry that all I’ll get is rejections.  You only need one yes, but what if it doesn’t come?

I have quite an extensive list of agents who represent young adult authors, and who don’t specifically state they won’t accept fantasy.  My question to all of you is:  What names do you have of agents in this category.  I’ve looked at all the websites and data bases.  I’ve checked books I like and found who their agents are, and yet I still find names I’ve never heard of before.  I’d love anyone’s input.  Even smaller agents or newer agents would be fine.  (Sometimes they’re the best because they’re still building a client list.)

And thanks in advance to anyone who replies.

A few thoughts…

I know, I know, I haven’t posted for…well, for forever.  I’ve had a couple of reasons.  One, my kids are on year-round school and they’ve had the last three weeks off.  I just don’t get as much done when the kids are home all day, everyday.

Another reason I haven’t done much is because I’ve been on a school boundary change committee.  We have so many kids in my area (my kids attend an elementary school with an enrollment of 1224!!!), that they’re building a new school.  A group of parents are on a committee to decide where the boundaries of that new school should be.  It’s been hectic, and honestly, a bit ridiculous.  Sometimes I feel that there just aren’t enough logical thinking people in the world.  But…that’s not really that important to this blog.

Finally, and this is a good reason not to have done much, I’ve finished my query letter.  I’ve gone through dozens and dozens of drafts.  I’ve submitted on AW.  I’ve asked other authors to read it.  And I think I finally have a great version that not only gives all the pertinent details, but also sounds good.  Yeah!!!

For anyone interested, I’ve added a brief summary of my book.  It’s under the book tab, or listed on the side column on the left.

I’ll post more later, and sooner, next time.