This year was my second year at WriteOnCon, the online writers' conference that takes place every August! I can't recommend it enough. The people who run it are fabulous and the forums are just oozing with talent. You know those dreams where you're in a bookstore, buying lots of awesome books, and then you wake up and realize they're not on your shelf? (No? Just me?) That's kind of how I feel when I read the phenomenal queries and pages that people post, because I desperately want those stories on my bookcase, RIGHT NOW.
I haven't had a chance to take part in the live forum events this time around (I did the Twitter pitch last year and got some feedback on PPP from an Entangled Publishing editor... very cool stuff!).
Mostly I've been bumming around the critique forums, where the ninja agents have been prowling since yesterday. I posted the query letter and the first 250 words of ELEGY into the YA section, hardly daring to hope that any ninjas would show up. (They didn't last year for PPP, although I practically had an aneurysm every time I saw them visiting a buddy!)
I got a ton of fantastic suggestions that really helped me tighten up the query. People advised me to take out wishy-washy words so the letter would sound surer of itself; pointed out repetitions; made comments on how to improve the flow; and gave me a ton to think about in terms of how I want to convey the characters' motivations and voice.
And then this happened:
If you heard a squeal-scream sometime around 5 PM Eastern time yesterday, echoing through the mountains, rivers, and valleys, that was probably me.
I got some more great feedback from other writers and some kind, lovely, encouraging words, and then I went to bed (and dreamed about revising all night. The worst part about those dreams is that you wake up and the revisions aren't done).
And then I woke up to some private messages in my inbox and also this:
Guys, my heart stopped beating. I had to close my eyes and remind myself to breathe, so I wouldn't pass out, and then I freaked out because ELEGY is still just a WIP and has such a long, long way to go. And then I frantically called and texted and emailed all of my poor, poor CPs who have read this book, who gently calmed me down, told me it would be okay, and to get my ass in gear and start revising.
So that's just a long-winded way of saying that I need to take a break and focus on this book, and I'll be away from the blog for a little while, until it's in decent form. (My heart is still beating so fast as I type this.)
Back soon with a full report on how revisions went! Thank you to everyone who stopped by to critique my query and pages!