Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Forest (for the trees)

Diana Peterfreund has a wonderful post today about pacing, holding onto readers, looking at the story as a whole...well, you read it.

I feel like I am mentally pulling back from TMT enough (FINALLY) to see it as a whole. I see now that I didn't spend enough time on rewrite dealing with plot weaknesses, with pacing problems, with being utterly ruthless. I didn't necessarily make scenes pull double and triple duty like I should have. I left things that I wasn't quite happy with, even after strengthening (like Richard). It's better, but it's still not as good as it could be. I didn't go deep enough in revision, allowing the possibility that maybe I needed to drastically change some things instead of just tweaking here and there.

Mind, I don't feel bad about this--I really did the best I could from where I was at the time. Hell, it's my first book, I don't know what I'm doing. I'm figuring it out as I go. Yes, I've sent it out to quite a few agents and been rejected, but I don't consider them "wasted" queries either. Of 14 queries, 6 agents read a partial and 2 read a full. All but 2 of those gave me personal, detailed feedback. I've applied quite a bit of the feedback, and I'm getting closer...but now it's time for me to take a totally different approach, from the bird's-eye view, and make it shine. This time when I send it out, I want to be really happy with it, to know that it's STRONG. And then if it doesn't work out? I'll accept it, and keep going on Book 2. A few of the agents who rejected TMT asked to see my next work, so I have a couple of chances here.

Anyway, I'm making notes on things that I want to do with TMT, points I want to strengthen, subthreads I want to lay in. But I'm also going to print the whole thing out and edit it that way--not line by line, but scene by scene. What is happening in this scene? How can it work better? I'm also going to change much about the beginning, I think. Make Richard come in sooner. Make the break with her father much stronger, with deeper and additional reasons. Make the beginning matter more.

Make it shine.

Medieval Word of the Day: grusnen: To cry out with fright.


Diana Peterfreund said...

Susan, hon, that's a way better response rate than I got for my first query to agents, which was my FOURTH book! I think you're doing something right!

Susan Adrian said...


Really? See, it's hard to know, because I just don't see that kind of info often for writers who've gotten it done in the end. But yes, I think I'm on the right track...but I still need to work on it overall. Many of the scenes are good on their own, but it's the storytelling--like you were talking about today--that needs polishing.

One thing I'm learning (slowly) is that you're never done until it's on the shelf!