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Posts Tagged ‘rewriting’

I keep rewriting the first paragraph.  I think it’s better now, but I’m freaking out.

How does this grab you?

Chenda Frost sat perfectly still. She balanced in that silent place between a running panic and the withering urge to vomit that accompanies desperate grief. As the short line of cars followed the hearse into the churchyard, Chenda steeled herself for her first, and last, public appearance with her husband. She realized that this was the first time she had been to town with Edison, but she couldn’t find the strength to contemplate the irony that this would also be the last time she would travel to Coal City with him. After today, she would never see him again. Forever. She couldn’t pull her eyes away from the car carrying his casket, tried not to even blink for fear of losing any part of her last few moments with him. Chenda’s driver opened her door, and she stepped out into the misty morning to the sound of flashbulbs and the shout of rabid newspapermen. She raised her dark eyes to focus on the front door of the church, her goal. More flashes sent sparkles across her vision. She ignored what she could of the shouted questions and kept her pale face as placid and unmoving as possible. As quickly as her legs would carry her, she escaped into the cool darkness of the ancient church.

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I got my knickers in a wad to send more queries today. I rewrote the first chapter and proofed the synopsis and got busy.

Here’s the funny thing about literary agents: they all want different things. Some want you to mail your stuff, others only want on line submissions, some do both. Regardless of how they want your submission, they all want different parts. ALL want the query letter, but some forbid anything else. Some want a synopsis. Others want the first chapter, or the first 5 pages of the chapter, or blood from your first born.

Some say they will reply to every query within a certain time frame, usually about 4 weeks or so, but some say 3 months. Others say, if you don’t hear from us, assume we hate you and will turn the dogs on you if you try to contact us again.

I’m OK with all of this. My first editor was a broadcast news guy who could slash my work to ribbons in a heart beat. I tell you, it toughens the skin. It’s also handy to remember that a writer is not an artist. He or she is a person trying to use words to make a buck or two just like everyone else in the world. He who pays the fiddler calls the tune, that’s what I say. If you want to buy my novel, and you feel it needs something added or taken away, I’m probably going to be cool with that, so long as the price is right.

So, here I go, looking for rejections 2-5.

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So – here’s my thinking. If my feedback is saying “TOO MUCH BACK STORY” in chapter 1, I should turn BACK STORY, into just STORY, right? I’m turning it all around, and shoving some of the back story into other chapters.

This is the third major rewrite for Chap 1, but I think it’s getting better.  We will see.

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