The big news first – yours truly is Agented! I have accepted an offer of representation!
As I mentioned previously, the 2011 Surrey International Writer’s Conference was an all-around victory. Hanging out with other aspiring writers and soaking in the excellent workshops provided unmatched opportunity for inspiration and motivation for the conference theme, “Today, We Write!” But, for me, meeting with authors, agents, and editors was the real bonus – I’d been querying the “brutal & faceless machine" for months without success, so actually interacting with industry professionals gave me the chance to overcome the question marks and deliver my pitch to actual faces with actual expressions. Proof in the pudding, perhaps? I think so!
I finished the first draft of Aeden’s Wake (AW) late in 2010. Then I sent it to a small group of trusted readers for their thoughts, allowing the manuscript to sit in a drawer until I had all of their ideas, then made various revisions to the manuscript throughout the spring of this year. In May, I felt that AW was polished and ready enough to start querying, so I put it back in the drawer, where it has remained until now.
I should say I tried to keep it in the drawer. From time to time, in a fit of editorial motivation, I’d pull it out and try to edit – however, each time I did, it quickly became obvious that I wasn’t able to read my work without wanting to change absolutely everything about it. This was not a healthy attitude – there is some wonderful stuff in AW that all of my readers agreed on, and I was threatening to change all of it.
So, back in the drawer it went.
By the time Surrey came around and when representation was offered, AW had managed to remain in the drawer for a few months because during that time a) my wife and I moved our lives back to Canada from Korea, and b) I had begun Old Habits, my second novel (I’m writing this one through the Humber School of Writers under the mentorship of Nino Ricci). It was a little embarrassing, but I had actually forgotten a few details about AW that she picked up and commented upon, things she felt could use fleshing out and developing.
Forgetting was awkward (nothing like being corrected on a detail of my own novel) yet amazingly, none of her ideas scared me at all, which is significant given how horrified and worried I was months earlier about what could or should be changed. In fact, they made a wispy, crazy, back-of-mind kind of sense. Could I dare to believe I might be ready to go back in?
So, with my agent’s thoughts in mind, I re-read my novel. A quarter of the way through, it occurred to me that I was really enjoying the story and my work. This was huge in itself, of course – we can be our own worst critics – but I was also enjoying the potential to make AW even better and found myself run through with ideas for the next revision.
Imagine that – looking forward to the revision. This was certainly a first for me.
(I know, I know, having an offer of representation was a big part of why the re-read was all warmfuzzied and glowy, but this old soul needs to find motivation wherever he can, right?)
Any other writers out there with similar experiences?