Based on my last, bleak post, you might assume that I have given up on Winter Wilder. Not so!
In fact, the revision process is still ongoing and nearing its end (I hope!).
Late last year, I took part in an online seminar with Mary Kole, author of the book that I have so highly touted, Writing Irresistble Kid Lit. The seminar covered a lot of the material that was in her book, but what I most looked forward to was receiving a critique of my first 600 words by Mary Kole herself. Now, 600 words isn’t that much. It only amounts to about 2 pages.
But I felt pretty damn good about my first 2 pages. Of all the pages in my book, the first 2 chapters are probably my most heavily revised, tweaked, and smoothed. Everyone I have shown my first two chapters to has given me glowing feedback – they love it! They can’t wait to see more! This includes my writing group, who can be depended upon for honest feedback (brutal though it may be at times). Truly, I wished I could send Mary Kole my first two chapters, but I felt that even my first 2 pages were a dependable representation of my writing.
I eagerly awaited Mary Kole’s feedback, already envisioning a scenario where she would cry “I am blown away! I must see more! Send me the rest of your book post haste!”
When, months later, I finally received an email in my inbox from Mary Kole, I could barely contain my excitement to see what it might hold.
And…. I felt rather deflated when I realized she didn’t seem to care that much for my sample, starting with a critique on my much loved first line because it is “unattributed dialogue.” In fact, of all her notes that peppered by sample, only one of them was actually positive.
I felt immensely let down and once again began to question whether I’m on the right path at all. Sure, so many people have praised the first part of my book, but if an agent doesn’t like it, what good does that do me?
Some time later, I took another seminar with another great agent, Holly Root. Instead of a page critique, she offered a query letter critique which I felt would be immensely useful as I am approaching the stage where I am ready to begin querying in full force.
Her feedback was more heartening. She enjoyed my premise and how I portrayed the main character, but her main concern was that my book doesn’t stand out enough among the plethora of paranormal that already exists. She didn’t have any particular advice in that area… it’s clearly just a case of poor timing on my part. Paranormal has already been inundated with material for the past couple years, and right now dystopians are taking over the shelves (and also getting to the point of over saturation).
Still, I will not be deterred! I have been brainstorming how to make my book even more unique – how to really make it stand out amongst all the other YA paranormal that already exists. And I think I may have found my answer, though I don’t want to give it away just yet!
Now I am doing a third pass revision on my manuscript, incorporating all these new ideas and I think then it will finally be ready to be sent out!
Phew, what a process!
This article was written by Tania