Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writing is Waiting

What I'm reading: Newborn Needs a Dad, and His Motherless Little Twins, by Dianne Drake

Thanks to Maryann for her reminder about what giving is all about. And I still need photos for Friday Field Trips.

Our basement remodel is progressing, although things have slowed down a bit. We figured the rapid pace of the first two weeks would have to end, and, in typical contractor (or maybe it's just my luck), the drywall subs who said they'd be here at 9 on Saturday showed up at 11, and thus, didn't finish. The said they'd be back at 8 on Monday to do the last bits. Again, their idea of a start time seems to be 11. Now, had they said, "We'll be back Monday" and not given a specific time, I'd have been fine with it, but when someone says 8, I expect them at 8—or a phone call. Of course, the contractor had no idea they weren't there, or that they'd specified a time.

And so we wait. Kind of like the writing game. We write query letters and wait to hear from agents. And now, it's even harder, since many agents seem to be turning to the "if I'm interested, I'll respond." How do we know our painstakingly crafted query letter ever made it to the agent's inbox?

Last spring, a writing colleague had mentioned my name to her agent, and in June, the agent contacted me about a possible project. After several back-and-forth emails, I sent her a sample of my work. She said she'd get back to me 'soon.' Which, after a couple of 'sorry for the delay' emails, stretched into September.



I was delighted that she offered representation, and went ahead with writing the three chapters she requested. I sent them to her in early October. She got back to me within two weeks (things tend to move faster when you move from 'prospective client' to 'client'), and wanted revisions, which I wrote and resubmitted. By now it was early November.

Bottom line. She liked the revisions, and sent them to the publisher on November 16th. At this point in the writing business, the writer no longer has control. It's a matter of waiting, because it's now up to the editor to decide if she likes the proposal and the sample chapters. I'm right back in the 'not a client' position, and have to rely on my agent to decide when it's appropriate to follow up.

And so I wait. I hate to put energy into writing anything more, or even plotting more, of my proposed book, since it's a different kind of venture, and if the editor doesn't want it, I can't take it anywhere else, so why spend time on it until I know it's a go.

Meanwhile, I continue to work on my previous WIP, which is drawing nearer 'the end' although I have no clue whether it'll ever find a home. But the Hubster's been reading daily pages, and he wants to know what happens next, so I guess I'll keep writing. I want to know too!

(Image discovered at The Boston Scribbler)

17 comments:

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

Oh, the waiting! And this is holiday time at the publishers, so I don't thing many of them are in the office right now. Early 2011, maybe? Good luck with it! Maybe you can just peculate some ideas in your head. :)

Terry Odell said...

Elizabeth, yes, things seem to move at glacial speed even in the best of times. I'm continuing work on my current WIP, just so I can have something to do.

Lou Belcher said...

Yes, writing seems to be all about waiting. It's great you have an eager audience for your WIP. Always nice to have someone turning those pages and waiting for more. Hope you hear something soon.

Terry Odell said...

Lou - thanks. I'm creeping closer to 'the end' of the WIP. But then there's the second draft, so I should have something to keep my mind occupied until I hear something.

Katie Reus said...

I totally feel ya! When my agent was submitting the first book in my paranormal trilogy I started to work on the second book but after waiting for a while decided not to put so much energy into it b/c if the first didn't sell, I'd have nothing to do with the next book(s). As soon as I stopped working on it, we got a call, lol. Good luck with this one! I hope to see good news posted soon :)

Terry Odell said...

Ah, Katie -- so I should quit working on the WIP, and that will provide the requisite cosmic influence over at the publishers. I like that.

Stephen Tremp said...

It was worth stopping by just to see the image of the skeleton at the PC LOL! That's great.

Terry Odell said...

Steven - yeah, I liked the image. Amazing what Google comes up with! And I'm glad you stopped by.

Rachel Firasek said...

I'm in the waiting process myself, but it's for the 2nd set of revisions on my UF that is to release after the new year. I'm getting a little anxious, but I know that patience is a virtue. Great post!

Grace Elliot said...

Ah- builders time and real time! Obviously publishers work to a similar schedule.
Best of luck with the submission!

Terry Odell said...

Rachel - always easier to wait for edits than to wait for that yes/no decision.

Grace - thanks. The only times that seem important to those in the world of contracting/subbing seem to be lunch and quitting times.

Terry Stonecrop said...

I don't look forward to the writers waiting game. I know all about waiting for contractors, though. I sympathize:)

Hart Johnson said...

When I auditioned for my Cozy series, I ended up editing a book and writing another before I actually heard I got the contract--definitely not a situation to hold your breath! it was a little bit hard to get back to it (I had about 60 pages--had to REVISE those, THEN wait... then came back to finish the book. I kept a notebook for broad ideas, but it ended up working out pretty well to wait.

I hope the publisher likes your chapters and you get an offer!

Terry Odell said...

TerryS - We're already resigned to the fact that it'll probably cost 20% more and take 20% longer -- I'm OK with whatever schedule they want as long as they tell me. (And the general contractor apparently made that clear to his subs.)

Hart - I hope so too! Thanks for sharing your journey.

Maryann Miller said...

Sounds promising for you, so hang on to that positive thought as much as possible. This limbo we get into between initial interest and final answer is awful, but what I really hate is the folks who never give a final answer, even if it is a pass. That happens a lot in the film business. I had two producers contact me expressing interest in my books, so I sent them requested material and now nothing. I'd rather know than remain forever in limbo.

Terry Odell said...

Maryann--I so agree. To me, not acknowledging a submission is just plain rude.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Good luck on the new projects, Terry. I'm ready to send out agent queries again. The one good thing about the lack of acknowledgments is the absence of any obligation to submit only a few queries at a time. Agents, you snooze, you lose.