Monday, June 28, 2010

... THE END ... now what?

Yup, got it done, typed those words yesterday!

I finished the first draft of my latest book, called,  UNDERCOVER COWBOY.

Now the work begins. In the writing world, I'm what they call a Pantser or Organic Writer, which means, I don't write copious notes, outlines or even character sketches prior to writing my first draft.

Nope, what I have is a character or two  or maybe a single scene kicking around in my head. Then I sit down and let the words and story flow. The process is sometimes exciting, sometimes scary and always consuming.

I occasionally get up at four in the morning and write non-stop until noon, and other times start late and write through until two am.  The difficult days are the ones when no words seem eager to jump out and I'm not certain what the characters are up to.  This is often because I've made a wrong turn. So I go back a ways and try to change a scene or how a character reacts to something and poof, the fingers are flying over the keys again.

The nice part about pantsing is that I pay no attention to grammer, repeated words, etc etc.  That's where the rewrites begin.   For the next few weeks I'll be whipping my story into shape.  Then it will go out to my critique readers and they'll find a bunch of things that I hadn't seen. And I'll rewrite again.

Then I send it to my beta readers - friends and family who love me and don't want to hurt my feelings so they are really kind in their responses.

From there, I will begin sending query letters to literary agents. These letters have to be no more than one page long, with enough about my book to interest them and if I'm lucky, they'll ask to read a PARTIAL.

A partial is usually the first few chapters, up to fifty pages.

IF I'm lucky enough to have partials requested, then I will hold my breath and wait, making random promises to gods I've never met, hoping they like it enough to request a FULL.

If that happens, first I would be speechless - yes me! Then, I'd happy dance for a while before I shipped a full manuscript off to the agent who I now think IS god.

That's when the waiting gets longer because when you think about it,  How many books can you read in a week?  Agents have to read A LOT.

Okay, so now, the agent thinks they can sell your book so they CALL you and make you wet your pants...  oops, did I say that?  sorry. I mean you are so excited that you can't breath.

At this point I'll pause for a day... and say be continued.

I'm going to let you chew on these steps for tonight and continue this loooong story tomorrow.

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