Saturday, April 11, 2015

Anxiously Waiting

My SPIRIT QUEST manuscript is currently in the hands of Chimera Editing and I'm anxiously waiting on their feedback which will be delivered by the end of next week. Why am I anxious? There's a level of insecurity every time I get someone to read my work. What if they think it's crap?

Then I rewrite.

What am I expecting from the deep dive edit? I know I have some character issues, told to me by a couple of early readers. The problem is that I'm not sure how to address these issues. I'm hoping that this edit gives me some insight and helps me make a plan to fix it.

At every stage through this journey I felt that I had nailed it and then discovered that I hadn't and it's required work to fix. It's my first novel so I'm not trying to be hard on myself. I'm hoping that for the next novel I'll have learned enough so that I can stay at that level and improve the delivery time of a quality product.

Monday, April 6, 2015

All's Quiet on the Western Front

It's been a painfully slow last couple of weeks. My day job's been challenging to say the least and its spilled over into my writing time, sapping any leftover energy I have left. The new normal will kick in next week and hopefully I can get myself into the right frame of mind by then.

My manuscript goes to Chimera editing this week. I think I've got my novel to where I want it and will hopefully have lots of good feedback to rewrite and revise it and start the agent submission process again.

In the meantime, I want to keep going as I feel like I've fallen out of the daily writing routine, especially when all I've been doing for that last six months or so has been revising Spirit Quest. I have some notes of the sequel, but I'm also thinking it might be good to change my mind for a couple of weeks until I get the Chimera edit back. I've been trying to do that for a couple of weeks now, but I'm not sure what's holding me back. Perhaps the need to keep fiddling with Spirit Quest? Perhaps the daunting aspect of taking on something new? Perhaps both?

Onwards and upwards!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

More Rejections... Deep Breaths...

The editor from Del-Rey took a pass on Spirit Quest after a read of my revise and resubmit. She clearly explained her reasoning, feeling she couldn't get behind the characters. Despite the outcome, it was a great experience. It was really exciting getting this far in the process. Painful that it ended that way, but also tells me that my novel isn't quite there yet.

As a first time author, I had no idea when my novel would be at that point and I'm currently lost in waves of revision. So, my next step is to get some professional help. I'm now in the queue at Chimera Editing to get a "Deep Crit Review" of Spirit Quest.

I've been so immerse in Spirit Quest that I'm thinking I need to put some distance between it and myself. Chimera should have the review done by mid-April and that month or so break will do me some good.

And to add to the list of rejections.. The Canada Arts Council rejected my grant quest. Sigh.

Will keep going. I've got the next set of agents I want to submit ready. I'll recover the edits from Chimera and keep trying!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Roller Coaster Ride That Is #PitchMadness

Over a week ago I threw my novel, Spirit Quest, into the #PitchMadness hat. On the weekend, I was thrilled to learn that it had made the final 70 or so pitches out of the over 900 submitted.

Today was the big day where the participating agents placed bids on the pitches they liked.After a grueling hour-long plus process, I learned that my pitch didn't receive any requests.  Like the post's title state, it was a roller coaster ride. From the high on Sunday, to today's crazy level of anticipation and stunned disappointment.

I'm pushed aside my bruised ego and want to congratulate all those who did receive requests. You guys rock!

Now, to focus on the positives:
  • My novel pitch had roughly a 7% of being picked and it was
  • My novel pitch being selected gives me confidence that my idea is marketable
  • Perhaps the participating agents weren't a good match for my story
  • Made several new twitter friends
  • Got some leads on some other agents
 The bottom line of this whole experience is that I know what I've got and I'm going to keep querying!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Never Tell Me The Odds - #pitchmadness

I submitted my SPIRIT QUEST entry for Pitch Madness ( and it turns out that I'm one of 915 submissions!

Looking forward to the results next week. It's exciting and daunting at the same time, dangling yourself out there.

Here's my 35-word pitch, exactly 35 words:

"A native man learns his stepfather was murdered and uncovers a plot to resurrect the Ojibwe God of Darkness. He must learn to use his spirit magic and reconcile his heritage to stop this menace."

Re-reading it now, I'm not sure I like the word menace. I liked ancient evil, but I think I needed to trim down the words.

Here's the 3-sentence pitch:
"When a young M├ętis man with emerging spirit magic powers discovers his stepfather’s murder was covered up, he sets out to find the killer. But there’s a cabal of sorcerers that will stop at nothing to resurrect Malsum, the Ojibwe god of darkness. Can he find his place among a secret society of Medicine Men, learn to control his spirit magic, and reconcile his native heritage in time to stop this ancient evil?"

And lastly, here are the first 250 words of the novel:

"Ashigan didn't fear death, but the thought of those pursuing beasts clawed at his soul.

The road was still kilometers away and the river was his only option. The waheela were toying with him, chasing him through the forest, taking turns attacking, and wearing him down. He would have been impressed by their tactics had they not been hunting him.

The river was the first glimmer of hope Ashigan had since they started chasing him from Misajidamoo's hunting camp. Misajidamoo had left an abrupt phone message claiming a pack of these wolf-bear hybrids were stalking him. But Ashigan knew the waheela never ventured south of the Northwest Territories.

Ashigan had dropped by the camp to check in on his fellow Medicine Man and found the waheela waiting for him. He managed to escape, but they followed him. He had spent many fall days with Misajidamoo in these woods hunting deer and bear. Never would he have thought he'd be hunted in these same woods.

Stopping at the edge of the forest, Ashigan leaned against a tall birch tree that overlooked the river. His shallow breaths stung his lungs. Twenty years ago, this pursuit wouldn't have winded him. Now in its sixties, his body conspired against his efforts to flee.

The tree's spirit radiated out through its skeletal limbs that stretched high into the sky. Ashigan touched each of the white birch's thirty-seven winters and felt its deep root system. The tree acknowledged his presence and passed along a portion of its vitality.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Pitch Madness 2 Starts Tomorrow

The submission window for Pitch Madness opens tomorrow!

What is Pitch Madness? It’s a chance to get your manuscript looked at by one or more of the participating agents.

What do you need?
- A 35-word max pitch for your novel
-  The first 250-words of your novel

That's it. Once you have those two pieces (in addition to the completed manuscript), you need to submit it to the link above.

Best of luck!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Agent Hunt - Update #2

It's closing in on 3 weeks since I sent out the first wave of query letters for my novel Spirit Quest. I've received another rejection over the past week. It was a form letter response.

I'm trying to focus on other projects. It's proving rather difficult. Each time I hit a milestone, it seems that the next goal is quite far off. Looking back, when I completed my first draft, I had no idea how much work would be involved in the second and third drafts. Now that I'm on my last pass (recovering comments from a few Alpha readers), I have to avoid having my doubts creep in and stall the momentum I've built up so far. I'm not sure what I expected in terms of the first wave. But, coming off the high of having written the book, I felt like it was going well. I still have 6 outstanding responses, so I'll remain positive and patient.

Reading about how many rejections to expect, I came across the following which made me smile: "Don't give up until you've queried 80 agents or more".

And here's another great article on the query letter process and revision: