3 S.R. Johannes: A chance in hell is better than no chance at all!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A chance in hell is better than no chance at all!

I am contemplating heavy revisions suggested by a couple of AWESOME AGENTs - And if I do them and I MIGHT be able to resubmit.

Sound simple?

It is.

All I would have to do is......pretty much change the WHOLE plot? No problem.

I actually agreed with most of the comments and had been contemplating the exact changes for several weeks now. So this may be a confirmation of where I need to go.

No matter what the edits are or where I go from here. I am thrilled. For the first time, I feel like a couple agents are getting me, my writing, and connecting to my character. What an awesome feeling!

One actually said, "my writing was nuanced, subtle, character-driven and heart wrenching."

Another said, "they loved my voice".

I've read the comments like 1,000 times, you would think they were starred reviews from Publisher's Weekly.

Wow, could agents really think that about my writing? I've been smiling ever since.

I thought I would be stressed out but I'm actually kind of excited to see where the story takes me. Don't get me wrong, I love my book, but a part of me is interested to see if it could be even better. Besides, who cares. I have a shot! A chance, though a small chance, at someone awesome and I'm going to go for it! If I do the changes, whether the agents say yes or no - a chance in hell is better than no chance at all. right?

I think I am ready to give up control on my book and trust the process.

So I may be back to the "plotting board".

I've got some great ideas and I know if I embark on this process - it will challenge me and my writing. But for those who know me, know I LOVE a challenge. I actually prefer to travel the hard route. It's much more of a journey and it makes the reward so much better to know you've gone to hell and back and stuck with it. I think going through this process could teach me a lot about myself and about my writing.

So I'm thinking...bring it on!

Don't get me wrong, I wish one o fthem would have taken me before the edits but at least I get another shot. If just one is willing to take a chance on me - why shouldn't I take a chance on them? I think it goes both ways. So maybe I'll try to prove myself and know as long as I do my best, no matter what happens, I'm still another step forward.

In this economy I don't think agents can afford to take writers on unless they are 90% happy with the book. I also think agents see revising as a skill totally separate from writing. So this may be a new skill for me to learn. I think agents need to know that you can write and revise. Because revision is part of the process - no matter how big or small.

And you know what? If I do embark on these changes - I have no attachments to the outcome. Of course I would LOVE an agent to pick me up b/c out of all the rejections, only a couple seem to get my writing. I still have a couple of fulls out now so we'll see. These were my top agents, so I'm happy with where I am so far.

But what if another one comes back and says they love it as is? I may just take some time to really think about the book and what I feel it should be. And if someone comes back, I'll just go from there. I don't think its fair to be doing edits for more than one agent - to me or the agent.

But I am just holding onto the fact that it is a step forward. I have come so far. To have top agents send me a long personal letter with recommendations on edits offering to rereview? OMG kill me now because I could really die happy today.

Kinda sad that I am doing a happy dance at "almost yes". Can you imagine what I will do WHEN I get a yes from someone and then sell my book? I don't think my heart can take it. :)

So I guess its true, God can only give me what I can handle. :)

Wish me luck!

Back to work - happily!


Heidi Willis said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Corey Schwartz said...

Oh, Shelli. What a great note! I am so happy for you!

Eliza Osborn said...

Hey -- I'm in pretty much the same place -- glowing reports about my writing, but I have to a massive overhaul before Dream Agent (on my blog I actually call her Agent Awesome, so high five there!) before she can take it on I'm learningtoread over at LiveJournal, and I'm revising completely, and yeah, if you want to talk, whine, or have someone talk you off of ledges or feed you chocolates during the process, I'm glad to help.

Because I totally get where you are right now.

It's not a fun place. But I think it's a worthwhile place just the same.

Good luck!

Shelli (srjohannes) said...

Oops sorry Heidi - I accidentally hit reject (thinking reply) instead of publish. To all - Heidi finally told me the secret to publishing. Sorry you couldn't read it :)

Lisa Schroeder said...

I always tell myself, I can try. Sometimes, it works, sometimes it doesn't. But you really don't know until you try. And I've found where I've tried and I decided I just couldn't do it, it made me believe in the story *I* wanted to tell all the more.

Save the new version as a new document. Just in case. :)

Vivian Mahoney said...

Sounds like you're well on your way! Congrats on the positive note! Doesn't it make all your hard work worth it?

Anonymous said...

Good luck, Shelli! Have fun with the rewrite!

Unknown said...

Oh, this is great! I wish you all the best!!

Jean Reidy said...

Sounds like a terrific opportunity. I'm wishing you all the best.

Katie Anderson said...

YAY Shellibird!!!!!

Kelly H-Y said...

I'd be grinning from ear to ear too! That is so awesome! Good luck!

Carrie Harris said...

It sounds like you've got a great attitude about this, and it IS a great opportunity. Better to try and to know whether or not those changes work than to wonder about it the rest of your life, right?

I picture Agent 001 as a kind of James Bond knockoff, drinking martinis and reading mannies. That cracks me up.

a brilliant blog said...

you go girl! You can do it...Go where it takes you. You'll be glad you're there.
your friend in writing,

Casey Something said...

Awesome Shelli! I would be doing the happy dance, too!

Anonymous said...

I'm so happy for you that you got some positive feedback, and that you seem to feel good about the changes. One word of caution: don't just delete the old stuff. Whenever I do a major revision I make a new folder, copy all the chapters into and give them new names. That way if I'm not satisfied with the changes I can go back to the original.

I think the main thing about taking other people's suggestions is whether they make sense to you. Since you were already considering similar changes, it seems like they do in this case.

Good luck with the re-write!

Anonymous said...

SO have been there! Is there no end to the revising? Maybe this whole process is like what Katherine Duey said--art and craft. The art is that first draft--that lump of clay "story" that calls us. Then the craft comes in...whittling, shaping, and whittling some more until we find the true heart of the story and can take that former lump of clay off the potter's wheel and have something else entirely... You're SO close! Congrats, Vicky

Unknown said...

I LOVE the Happy Working Song. Nice touch!

Whenever you want to send me something to read- pass it along. I will be passing The Great Catch soon.

Anonymous said...

Persistence is so key. The writers who get published are the ones who do not quit in the face of disappointment. Vicky

Anonymous said...

must be hormonal cuz usually i like the happy working song...grrrr

Anonymous said...

Re: revisions. Just sent some out to my new agent. On pins and needles to hear. At Springmingle, I had the pleasre of telling our editor-speakers this fascinating factoid from ancient history. You know the guy in gladiatorial games who decided who lived or died? It wasn't always the emperor but the person who payed for the games. Anyway--the latin title for this person was...EDITOR! I often feel like I'm on my bloody knees in the arena looking up to see if the EDITOR if going to give me the signal for death or life.