WriteOnCon 2013 Recap... and a Brief Hiatus

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!


Colin Smith said...

Can I just say, Julie, that I'm 100% convinced you'll be published one day, so nothing that was said by agent or others on ELEGY surprised me one bit. Your time is coming. And maybe sooner than you ever hoped. :) Very best wishes to you.

Mia Hayson said...

Julie, that is SO SO FABULOUS!! I have to agree with Colin as I know you are headed down a great road and I know fantastic things are on the horizon. <3

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Get to work, Julie! That is awesome.

Tiana Smith said...

LOL. I'm so proud and happy for you. Good luck with the revisions!

Shari said...

Oh my goodness, Julie, that is INCREDIBLE! You must be over the moon with excitement. Wishing you the very best of luck with revisions. I can't wait until this book is in stores one day and I CAN buy it for my shelf! :)

Brandon Ax said...

That is awesome. I had to sit out this year as I was doing so much work on Ashes.

I agree with Colin, you are sure to have your book picked up. Good luck on revising I can't wait to read something from you.

1000th.monkey said...

Congrats and good luck! It's pretty amazing to get encouraging feedback like that, eh?

mshatch said...

That's awesome! I'd be grinning from ear to ear if I got feedback like that :)

Connie Keller said...

Wow. And wow!

I'm on vacation and haven't been checking blogs, but I'm so glad I caught this.

I'm so excited for you. Can't wait to hear more!

Julie Dao said...

Colin: And going by what I read of your query and pages for TEENAGE ALIEN, I am going to return your sentiments! Thank you, and best of wishes to you as well. I appreciate all of your help on my query and pages! *hugs*

Mia: I couldn't believe my eyes. Seriously. Last year I got nothing for PPP. No interest. NADA. To have had two ninjas stop by this time around, for another book - and take the time to say something - is just mindblowing. Thank you <3

Alex: *salutes* Yes, sir!

Tiana: Thanks, my dear <3 I will need all the luck I can get.

Shari: I am over the moon! The excitement has waned a bit now that I realize how much work is ahead of me, but it's turned into anticipation and pride. I can't wait to shape this book into something I can really be proud to show an agent. *hugs*

Brandon: Your cover for ASHES is fan-freaking-tastic! I already have my copy. I forgot to Tweet about it but I will try to do so sometime today. Thanks for the encouragement, friend, I truly appreciate it.

Monkey: Yes! So encouraging! I'm so thankful :)

Marcy: Oh yes, I had the biggest smile on my face all day. I'm sure I looked deranged, but I didn't care! LOL.

Connie: Hope you're having a great vacation! Thank you! I'll keep you all posted.

Laura Marcella said...

So that cacophony I heard yesterday evening was you?! I'm glad that mystery has been solved! ;)

I'm so happy you received such wonderful, exciting feedback. Good luck revising, Julie!

Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

Melissa Hurst said...

Oh my gosh, Julie! This is fantastic! And don't worry about not being finished just yet - I was ninja'd last year at WOC, sent my ms to the agent in February, and signed with her in April. :) And if you need another beta reader, I'd love to volunteer! Your book sounds AMAZING!

Kimberly Gabriel said...

Julie - that's such wonderful feedback! I cannot wait to read your success story! Best of luck as you continue writing and revising!!!

Julie Dao said...

Laura: Yes, it was! Sorry if it hurt your ears! Thanks so much <3

Melissa: I just read your news over at your blog - CONGRATULATIONS. Talk about encouragement! So you signed with the agent who ninja'd you? I'm dying to hit "send," but I want to polish the book before I do that.

Kimberly: Thank you, my friend! I hope I can at least come back with a successful report about lots of revisions done! *hugs*

Akoss said...

Eeep! Congratulations!!!
I stayed away from WOC this year for personal reasons but I'm so happy for you. :)
*shakes pompoms*

Theresa Milstein said...

Oh, Julie, that's so exciting. Congratulations!

I'm kind of in the same boat as you. I had a ninja visit this year that turned into a PM requesting 3 chapters. It's a completed manuscript, but I want more readers on it before it's done, done. I knew the 3 chapters were tight, so I sent them.

Now for the stressful waiting... .

Julie Dao said...

Akoss: Thanks for the cheering, lady! Hope all is well with you. There's always next year for WOC! :)

Theresa: Congrats on your request, how exciting :D That's fantastic that your first three chapters are in great shape. I have a pretty substantial chunk to send out, so I'm going to be revising all weekend! Excited! Good luck to you, hope you hear some GREAT news!

Carolin said...

SOOOOO excited for you! <3 :D

Julie Dao said...

Carolin: Here are 21849621896 hugs for you! :D

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Woo-hoo, Julie! I'm glad to hear you are jumping right on those revisions. :D:D:D

Jemi Fraser said...

Woot!!!! Great comments!!!

I was out of town and missed WOC but I'm going to be checking it out once I've got back to normal :)

DL Hammons said...

Colin said perfectly what I have been telling you for years! IT WILL HAPPEN! It's only a matter of time. :)

Medeia Sharif said...

What wonderful messages to receive. Keep doing what you're doing.

Cynthia said...

Julie, I'm so happy to hear that you got positive feedback during WriteOnCon. You definitely deserve some recognition after all your hard work! Good job!

Right now, I'm still going through the posts I missed during the event, like the live pitch events. It's very insightful to see what goes through a publishing professional's head when they're being pitched.

Julie Dao said...

Tricia: Yes, it is crunch time! :D

Jemi: I think the forums are still up, so there's ton of information still there! Such a cool and helpful conference.

Don: *blimp-sized hug*

Medeia: I will try! Thanks!

Cynthia: Fantastic! Hope you find some helpful stuff. There are so many informative posts, and the forum events were so cool this year. I'll have to make more time to participate next year.

Shelley Sly said...

Julie! That is amazingly awesome!! Congrats! :D

I'm so happy that you've gotten such great feedback! Enjoy your hiatus!

Christina Farley said...

Awesome! What a wonderful comment to get!

Julie Dao said...

Shelley: Thank you! It'll be a busy one, but fun too :)

Christine: Yes, it was!

Crystal Collier said...

Yay, Julie! Super congrats! That's definitely one of the most exciting moments in a writer's life, and I hope your revisions are amazingly smooth.

Meanwhile, I've got a blog award waiting for you--when you get a moment. ;)

Margo Berendsen said...

He he he I knew all about this before you even posted it! :)

Julie Dao said...

Crystal: Thank you; so far so good revisions-wise! And thanks for the award!

Margo: Hehehehe!

Connie Keller said...

I just nominated you for the Super Sweet Blogger Award on my Screwing Up Time blog.

Nick Wilford said...

Wow! That's some amazing motivation if ever I saw it. :D Best of luck with those revisions!

Damyanti said...

All the best with the revisions...things look good for you!

Julie Dao said...

Connie: You're the best! Thanks for the award!

Nick: It really is! Thanks for the support, friend :)

Damyanti: Thank you very much! :D

Gina Gao said...

This sounds really awesome!


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